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Is Piracy Possible?[edit]

OOC: Piracy is a vexed subject in Traveller.

Canon makes it clearly happen, but the mechanics of profitable piracy just arent that easy, given Traveller rules and what we can extrapolate from current physics.

Sunbeard Declaration on Piracy[edit]

The below is the Sunbeard Declaration, the peace statement authored by yours truly, Ian Whitchurch, that just about everyone signed up to at the end of the Great TML Piracy Flamewar of 1997-98.

  • 1. Mainworlds, with either significant trade or significant economies, can and will defend their space out to about their 100-diameter limits.
  • 2. These anti-pirate defences will make piracy in and around mainworlds unprofitable.
  • 3. These anti-pirate defences do not extend to the entire system.
  • 4. Most career pirates concentrate on the unsafe outsystems.
  • 5a. Shippers apply risk premiums to trade with either unsafe systems or outsystems.
  • 5b. A corollary of 4. and 5a. is that Outsystems will tend to remain underdeveloped, as they cannot develop until they are secure, and they are not worth securing until they are developed.
  • 6. Merchant ships specialising in trading in safe areas tend to be lightly armed or unarmed.
  • 7. Merchant ships specialising in trading in unsafe areas tend to be heavily armed.
  • 8. The best markets for stolen starships and cargos are in other states, however unsafe areas will buy commodities they know to be stolen at heavily discounted rates.
  • 9a. Pirate ships will tend to be converted merchants, as unsafe areas tend not to be profitable enough to justify custom-built warships.
  • 9b. Safe areas tend to be too dangerous for even custom-built warships to operate in for long enough to defray their build costs.
  • 9c. Pirate warships may exist from mutinous or rebel crews.