RW Somali Pirates and Star Frontiers

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 2, 2011 - 8:17am
The new model of piracy is for mother ships loaded with food fuel and arms to wait among fishing vessels miles of shore for days at a time and distpatch speed boats to attack shipping. About 1/3 of the attacks succeed and the ransoms being paid by shipping agents has not been helping the situation. (though with recent publicity many navy's are stepping up pratrols off the Somali coast and pirates have stupidly mistaken various Nato ships as targets.


Question is would this style of piracy work in the Frontier- ship hijacted and "anchored" at pirate den till ransome is paid?

perhaps at Outer Reach? ship is ported and company needs to pay ransome to get their crew and ship back

there's been 3 Dramune Wars to deal with the pirates what political environment would force Space Fleet to not go stroming in guns blazing?

What do you all think?

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

Georgie's picture
Georgie
January 2, 2011 - 8:49am
Yes, it would work in SF. Ideally the stash point would be at the outer limits of a system, far from the trade and patrol lanes. Or it could be in another, unmapped system, depending on the expenses involved in jumping the captured ship.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.    * Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 2, 2011 - 9:01am
Using the model of a frieghter which suddenly pops out four fighters and then attacks and captures the unsuspecting target would work. The pirates could even use the captured identity beacons to keep their own identity hidden.

Of course space being very big they would not need a den to hide the ship just somewhere away from the regular travel lanes.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Deryn_Rys's picture
Deryn_Rys
January 2, 2011 - 9:38am
While I agree with the above, I must add that Pirate bases are a staple of pirate fiction, and offer plenty of adventure material. While it is feasable to have a whole ship based pirate operation, doesn't that limit the adventure possibilities to merely space battles, and boarding actions? If you are playing a straight Knight Hawks campaign having pirates work solely on ship with no fixed home base is great, but in a mixed campaign (Knighthawks/Alpha dawn) a pirate base scenario allows for players to get a break from ship engagements. 
"Hey guys I wonder what this does"-Famous last words
"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
"Did you here that?" -Famous last words

Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
January 2, 2011 - 10:53am
Pirates would still need a home base to maintain their mothership at. As well as to stash any booty they haul away off from any captured freighter. It would not be smart to keep their booty on a ship as they'd lose it every time a military ship showed up, store some else where and they can get more ships and afford to lose a small one sometimes.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

Deryn_Rys's picture
Deryn_Rys
January 2, 2011 - 11:09am
As was stated in another thread the value of star craft in the Frontier makes it so that even the loss of one ship is a blow that many wouldn't be able to recover from. with this in mind, most pirates should cut and run before they lose a ship, and even star law or the local militia should break off an attack if their ship's were in jeopardy of being destroyed.

Thinking along those lines, space battle strategies in the Frontier would be more about using weapons to disable a ship rather than destroy it, leading to more oportunities for bording actions.

As for using bases to store money, why would a pirate not just travel to one of the shadow worlds like Outer reach and store their money there, as well as use their spaceport facilities to repair and rearm their ships rather than storing money and loot on some asteroid base or uninhabitted planet. think about it, Pirates with accountants.....
"Hey guys I wonder what this does"-Famous last words
"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
"Did you here that?" -Famous last words

Will the Stampede's picture
Will the Stampede
January 2, 2011 - 11:41am
To get the flavor of how Somali pirates might operate, may I suggest reading the opening chapters(the ones past the prologue, that is) of Clive Cussler's Oregon Files novel Corsair.


" 'Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death."

dmoffett's picture
dmoffett
January 3, 2011 - 12:07am
I read Corsair... Think I still have it lying around somewhere. I Seems to me that Pirates of the frontier act more like the Pirates of the 15th to 17th centuries. They usually operated out of port that was friendly to thier cause. Most Pirates were Granted Letters of Marque and Reprisal durring a time of War and operated against the merchants of the opposing faction. They were sometimes Heroes of one side and villains of the other.  For Example: Sir Francis Drake. Englishman who Raided Spanish ships and ports. Or in the case of the: US John Paul Jones Who raided English commerce durring the American Revolution. In the case of the Barbary Pirates They were profit and religiously motivated Any non Muslim Vessel from a nation that did not pay tribute was a target. (until the intervention of the US Marines and Navy)
The bombing starts in five minutes.

Ascent's picture
Ascent
January 3, 2011 - 3:00pm

Pirates might do better to treat ship raids as car jackings and chop the ship for parts or repaint it, change out the registry and sell it. Heck of a booty there if they don't need the ship themselves.
 They would definitely need a semi-permanent place then.

View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)

Deryn_Rys's picture
Deryn_Rys
January 3, 2011 - 5:03pm
Or jump the ship to another star system, wait a few weeks and claim salvage rights..."We found the ship adrift and if no one claims it, we'd like to take ownership of it."
"Hey guys I wonder what this does"-Famous last words
"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
"Did you here that?" -Famous last words

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 3, 2011 - 6:24pm
Deryn_Rys wrote:
Or jump the ship to another star system, wait a few weeks and claim salvage rights..."We found the ship adrift and if no one claims it, we'd like to take ownership of it."


more likely they'd sell it to a fence/ salvager
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 4, 2011 - 6:41am
We need to clarify pirates for a moment before we can discuss how they operate. Pirates turn to their trade for many reasons and it is why they are committing acts of piracy which will determine how they operate along with their available resources.
Some examples I came up with on the fly:

Letters of Marque Pirates. They are really mercenaries empowered by a government or corporation to attack their enemies. Trans-Travel is using them in the Sundown system as stated in issue 16. They generally limit their targets.

Commercial Pirates. They attack and sell or barter what they capture. Anyone can be a target except for the ships of their comrades/partners whom they trade with. Think Port o Prince at the high time of Earth Pirates. Leaving survivors to spread their infamy is key so other target ships will just surrender and be allowed to live instead of fighting them.

Survival Pirates. A failed colony or renegade mercenaries they have holed up somewhere that can not support them and their support staff/families so they hijack what they need. Secrecy is important so its either jion them or die.

Terrorists/Sathar agents. Their goals are political and long range. Disrupting supply lines or gathering intelligence they differ from Letters of Marque Pirates because they work against the entire Frontier and tend to be more violent, better supported and organized and not as afraid of Spacefleet and the Militias who can be their primary targets.

The Reavers from Firefly/Serenity. Enough said,
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Ascent's picture
Ascent
January 8, 2011 - 2:28pm
Good stuff, rattraveller.

Here's an article I did on pirates:
Pirates of the Frontier - Way of the Pirate

Would you mind if I used your information here in a follow-up article?
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 6, 2011 - 6:15am
Go ahead use whatever you need
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 19, 2011 - 12:18am
Quote:
Question is would this style of piracy work in the Frontier- ship hijacted and "anchored" at pirate den till ransome is paid?


The Planoran Pirates from Warriors of White Light were running a similar operation, albeit disrupting the shipping rather than taking hostages for ransom. But that's not to say they couldn't have done that as well...they could have feasibly been waiting for a member of the Royal Family to ship out and nab them for a ransom too.

I utilize pirate "fighters" a lot in my game, offering the selective targeting gunnery modifier to their forward firing pod lasers. While I agree that the aforementioned loss of a ship is something any group would want to avoid, in certain contexts a fighter craft can be had on the cheap (I have a whole line of inexpensive Streel fabricated star fighters in my game on that premise, made more inexpensive via bulk purchases --- it's part of how my Frontier gets overtaken by a power hungry dictator).

Cheap fighter craft opens up a lot of doors --- the host ship can hang back in safety and let the fighter craft peck away, and if things go south retreat is a simple option. And who's to say pirate scout ships wouldn't surround a lonely patrol fighter and disable it, take it into tow, and let the pilot's oxygen supply run out along the way? Free ship, repair at the base...repeat as necessary until they have a squadron of their own.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website