Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Think On Piracy

Judging by the tables, piracy's pretty common in those backwater worlds I've mentioned.

And yet, there's often Imperial Navy bases but a jump away... which, assuming that reports of piracy bring some sort of swift action, leaves a Pirate about two weeks operating time maximum in a given system, at a shot. Moving around that quickly can get expensive, even when you're emptying the holds and galleys of fat merchants on a regular basis.

The "Loiter at 100D" piracy model doesn't work so well for me. It's not a good hunting ground. It's too broad. Given LBB2's detection ranges, it's too easy to miss your quarry. If it's patrolled at all, you're just as vulnerable to patrols as your quarry is to you. Not but that you might run into a ship on the way, but it's a hard thing to plan.

The sure places to bottleneck anybody are planets: at the very least, the mainworld and the gas giant. In a civilized system these will be well patrolled. C, D, E? Not so much. So these will be the places for a ship to hunker down and wait for prey. It's conspicuous, yes. It's somewhat vulnerable to attack should patrols arrive. But if you're flying a T or a C or something similarly upgunned, you can whip pretty near anything that you can expect to run into... and whatever it is will almost certainly be low on fuel. Once Merchant Mike's A-ship gets near its deceleration to orbit and sees that there's a T ship coming to meet him, he's going far too slow to run and he's well into the 100D radius. He's a sitting duck.

How's a T get there in the first place? What are the possibilities?
A low pop, low tech world might not have any defenses at all, in which case the T would have only to rout what merchantmen were in port at the time.
A higher population world, though, might be able to hire ships to fight off pirates who try this, classing them as privateers...

But then, what's to keep the privateers from skimming the cream from the top every so often, or simply taking over?


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