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Old 08-09-2018, 06:17 PM   #1
cptbutton
 
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Default Bounties for pirates

I am thinking my PCs may get a bounty on pirates they kill or capture. What are plausible rates? ICr500 each, 2000 for officers? Thatís dead. Alive and interrogatible is double.

Salvage or prize money on captured ships is separate. As is the bounty of destroyed pirate ships.

I don't want to give them too much money, but I don't want the numbers so low no one would bother with chasing pirates because it is a losing deal.

(But the kicker is that it is only redeemable at a Naval Base. Or you can sell the voucher to a discounter.)
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:49 PM   #2
tanksoldier
 
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Default Re: Bounties for pirates

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Originally Posted by cptbutton View Post
I am thinking my PCs may get a bounty on pirates they kill or capture. What are plausible rates? ICr500 each, 2000 for officers? That’s dead. Alive and interrogatible is double.
Capturing their ship is going to be far more valuable, even if they only get salvage rates for it. The pirate personnel would be at best an afterthought at those rates. You're setting the value of a pirate at about the same cost as a good rifle. Who would bother taking the risk? Who would bother feeding them for the two weeks to get them to an authority to pay the bounty?

That's how the players in my Pirates of Drinax campaign have been operating. Instead of being pirates themselves and the setting assumes, they have operated as officers of the Royal Dirinaxi Navy capturing or destroying pirates and smuggelers in the old Drinaxi dominion... and either selling the ships, salvaging the remains or using them for their expanding interstellar navy.

Any surviving pirates are tried and executed on Drinax.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bounties for pirates

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Originally Posted by cptbutton View Post
I am thinking my PCs may get a bounty on pirates they kill or capture. What are plausible rates? ICr500 each, 2000 for officers? Thatís dead. Alive and interrogatible is double.
Presumably that depends on who you turn them over to. The Imperium might offer a little cash, but seems unlikely to pay out on corpses without really incontrovertible evidence. Paying rewards on less than "evidence leading to conviction" or equivalent isn't a good idea even if the Imperium weren't a relatively just government - encourages too much fraud. Individual worlds, or people who have been robbed by any particular pirate might offer more, and/or demand less admissible evidence, which the Imperium might or might not consider it kidnapping (or slave trading) to hand people over in exchange for.

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Salvage or prize money on captured ships is separate. As is the bounty of destroyed pirate ships.
In a setting with sophisticated shipping economics of the sort that it's possible to get loans to buy ships, salvage will be the real money. Recovery fees for stolen ships are likely to be a couple percent of their value (or at least of the outstanding mortgage (paid by the bank) and the value of any insurance policy (paid by the insurer)). For ships that aren't actually stolen taken in piracy, honest governments might cough up a similar percentage when they seize them as assets used in a criminal activity, or they might insist it's your civic duty to turn them in. Ships taken in space would presumably be turned over to the Imperium, which does seem like it might pay something, but not all member worlds will if you somehow capture them in somebody else's jurisdiction. For destroyed ships, well you're back to those rewards mechanics - there's no apparent reason for anybody to pay anything more than they would for corpses.

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(But the kicker is that it is only redeemable at a Naval Base. Or you can sell the voucher to a discounter.)
If the payments are small, this seems unlikely. The administrative overhead (to counter the risk of forged vouchers if nothing else) is a substantial burden for no obvious benefit to the Imperial Government. Not every Starport Authority has megacredits lying around, but for a handful of pirates at a few thousand each? That's petty cash.
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Old 08-31-2018, 01:24 PM   #4
hal
 
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Default Re: Bounties for pirates

The English Royal Navy did pay what amounted to a blood bounty on enemy ships sunk or captured (although the prize money for a captured ship tended to be higher than the blood bounty).

So, if you want to introduce something like that, I'd say you'd be well within your rights to do so.

The things you may have to consider however...

If the Imperium permits the ability for private individuals to field military grade space craft crewed by mercenaries, they're not likely to cause any real waves with privateer based ships that actively hunt pirates. If planetary governments are permitted to issue letters of the Marque - I'd be largely surprised that they wouldn't be permitted to issue bounties against known pirate ships.

In all - were I to include something like this in my own campaigns, I think I'd go along the lines of this:

Bounty is worth 10% of the hull that is "sunk" by the pirate hunters. While it isn't a whole heck of a lot for actively hunting such pirates (ie, you couldn't pay your payroll of your own crew, ship maintenance etc) it might be useful for those ships that go up against a pirate and either destroy it entirely or are able to capture their foe.

Now for the cons of all of this...

Actively hunting for conflicts that could damage your ship, result in death, etc - may very well double or treble insurance premiums for the ship in question. Chances are too, that no self-respecting bank is going to foot any kind of loan for ships that actively go hunting for conflict - so unless someone purchases a merchant ship initially, then attempt to go hunting with it later on, the bank is not likely to process any loans for a ship.

It might be argued that a pirate hunter in a Q-Ship, might be paid by corporations who run freighters in the troubled area and treat the ship as a mercenary ship - but corporations are ALWAYS concerned about the bottom line. Even something as simple as not making the projected earnings can cause a corporation's stock owners to vote "Sell the company to the corporation that wants to buy it out cheap". So corporations are always sensitive to the bottom line in a major way. Then again? *teasing grin* That may be WHY they're hiring an outfit to put an end to piracy - if they don't, their higher insurance premiums coupled with a depressed shipping environment may be hitting their bottom line so badly that this is a "hail Mary" style attempt to save their company.

Up to you. Let us know how it went for your campaign - as that sounds like an interesting premise.
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Old 09-01-2018, 07:57 PM   #5
tanksoldier
 
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Default Re: Bounties for pirates

Historically letters of marique werenít really used against pirates, they were used during war to expand a nations commerce raider fleet.
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Old 09-01-2018, 09:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bounties for pirates

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Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
Historically letters of marique werenít really used against pirates, they were used during war to expand a nations commerce raider fleet.
Which in fact does not mean they cannot be in Traveller.
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Old 09-01-2018, 09:48 PM   #7
hal
 
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Default Re: Bounties for pirates

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Historically letters of marique werenít really used against pirates, they were used during war to expand a nations commerce raider fleet.
The letters of Marque permitted its holder to attack shipping authorized by those issuing them. If you dig a bit into history of privateers, you'll find an engagement in which two privateer ships attacked three pirate ships in harbor in a sheltered cove.

Think about that for a moment. If hunting pirates wasn't profitable, do you think the two ships would have taken on the three pirate ships lying in a cove? To point you in the right direction, search under Stede Bonnet or Gentleman Pirate to see how he met his end.

So - while the letters were not specifically intended to be used only against pirates per se, they still had the effect of authorizing pirate hunting.

Which brings me back to the original point: Britain did not only pay out on captured ships, but also paid blood money on ships sunk. There is nothing to keep the Third Imperium member worlds from doing the same.
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Old 09-01-2018, 10:54 PM   #8
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If you dig a bit into history of privateers, you'll find an engagement in which two privateer ships attacked three pirate ships in harbor in a sheltered cove.
If you dig a bit you can find an example of just about anything. Doesn't mean it was usual... and "pirates" were often as not the other side's "privateers".

Quote:
Which in fact does not mean they cannot be in Traveller.
In any given Traveller campaign anything can happen... but in MY Traveller campaigns if it doesn't make economic sense it's tough to suspend disbelief.

For example: "...Gee, we just risked a MCr200 ship to win Cr50,000 in bounties. Sure we did."

Another problem with pirate hunting in Traveller is that in MOST Traveller universes civilians can have military grade weaponry, drives and hulls. The military only gains an advantage when it gets to hull sizes civilians just can't afford.

Age of Sail pirates rarely had true warships, they used captured merchant vessels which even when up-gunned couldn't bear the weight and recoil of military grade armament and were generally slower due to merchant hull shapes... so military ships had an advantage, and civilian ships weren't at that much of a disadvantage.

Most pirates captured their prey by ruse or intimidation... not by sailing up and shooting.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:57 AM   #9
hal
 
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Default Re: Bounties for pirates

Now the fun part in your response is that if the money isn't worth the end result, then chances are, the bounty value for capturing a pirate or destroying a pirate would have to be upped to be worth the game (so to speak).

As for how the analogy of Age of Sail relates to the Traveller Universe - yes, it is true, they are not always good for each other.

None the less - what kinds of prey will pirates generally go after? How might pirates work towards their goals? Then flip the question and ask "What ships might a privateer go after? How might privateers work towards their goals? In a Traveller Universe, whether large ship or small ship as far as philosophy is concerned (basically pre or post High Guard) - Pirates will be built on...

Wait for it...

Civilian ship platforms. Ditto on the privateer. So, analogy wise, we're still in Age of Sail mentality here.

Who are the likely targets? Those ships that are under-gunned (which by definition, are either fewer guns, or no guns). Both the Privateer and the Pirate want to engage the enemy with the least amount of damage to their own hull as possible.

Now, given a choice (assuming you were a pirate), which would you prefer to do - engage a larger hull ship with a smaller hull, or engage it with multiple hulls? If the answer is the latter, that's oddly what some pirates did do, they ganged up to get temporary superiority where possible. This is how the Galleons would be taken down despite their firepower during the age of sail.

So, ruses - yup. What would be the Traveller equivalent to the ruse of a ship suddenly appearing from a cove or around an island unexpectedly? Staying behind a moon would mimic that right? But so would starting on the surface of a world on the other side of where the star port is (assuming a low population small starport type I or II type situation). Taking off from a size 7 world with a 4G armed pinnace would take shorter time than would a freighter with 1 G. Being in an atmosphere would degrade sensor acuity to some extent by lowering the sensor rating of the ship by a set value.

So, back to the original poster's comment. In a universe where the local authorities may very well HIRE a security force (read that as mercenaries for hire) to protect their shipping interests, said authorities may very well take a page from the Royal English Navy and try to offer incentives to make their forces more aggressive.
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