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SB - History/Philosophy

Posts (8)

  • DustBunny01


    #31846788 - 7 years ago

    A ship at sea is its own world. To be the captain of a ship is to be the unquestioned ruler of that world and requires all of the leadership skills of a prince or minister.
    - Col. Corazon Santiago, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

    As previously stated, the Free Traders are Captains of their own ships.

    In the FTB Universe, Free Trader Captains come from three primary sources. ONI, Red or Blue Armies, or Civilian Ship Captains operating outside the rules.

    While pirates and smugglers have existed since mankind found a way to float on the water; in the FTB Universe, the Free Traders were crafted by the Office of Navel Intelligence as, first, the means of monitoring the questionable and/or illegal flow of goods/services. Then, second, as an opposition force to the UNSC's Department of Commercial Shipping * D.C.S. to prevent trade from being used as a weapon by the UNSC against its member worlds. Then, third and most importantly, as a place to put either rogue or burned out ONI personnel such that they could be of later use to ONI without having them go, 'postal' while clearly a member of ONI.

    Current, Former and Ex-ONI personnel serve as approximately one third of the Captains. Ex-ONI are those viewing themselves as being extremely unlikely to take suggestions from ONI while former ONI could consider themselves as being in a sort of unofficial contractor relationship with ONI.

    One third of the Captains originate from either Red or Blue Armies and their related fleets. Most were originally Post Covenant-War veterans still looking for adventure of sorts among the space lanes. Due to the length of time following the War, these ships have been, in some cases, handed down to the next generation so the original allegiance to a specific color of flag is present but not ingrained through actual participation in hot combat operations. However, in most cases, a captain will retire and either sell his ship to either his second in command or some other Captain without a ship. Some Free Trader Captains are cashiered starship captains (dismissed from service) or retired officers who acquired a ship and taken up trade as a means of making a living or supplementing their pensions.

    One third of the Captains are civilian Captains who have either tired of operating under the repressive rules and regulations of the D.C.S. or simply play both sides, sometimes being a legitimate D.C.S. flagged ship and other times piloting on the gray side of the ledger.

    And, of course, there are the exceptions. Developed within WMB was a Roma Captain who clearly was not part of the primary groups. Therefore, if you wish to explore something unique, that option exists within the SA threads but transitioning of characters out of the SA threads into RPG threads must be pre-approved should an RP group be formed for play within the Games Forum.

  • DustBunny01


    #31846789 - 7 years ago

    "When you marooned me on that god forsaken spit of land, you forgot one very important thing, mate: I'm Captain Jack Sparrow".

    Free Trader Captains are generally viewed as both owners of their ships (either outright or through a mortgage with a lien on the title held by a financial organization) and Captains of that ship.

    Some Free Trader Captains own/control more than one ship and/or a ship and a base of operations and thus could be viewed as Commodores. However, individuals that could hold such rank rarely do so and simply refer to themselves as Free Trader Captains even though they employ other captains to handle the affairs of their ship(s)/base.

    Within Story Arc threads, how you craft your Captain and how that Captain progresses through your Arc is up to you. Within the RPG, there are some rules. But, how you play your character is again up to you.

    The relationship between a Free Trader Captain and his/her crew can involve one or a merging of various styles of command. A pure military type of structure can suffice or a Free Trader Captain may choose to look at his/her command structure being organized along the lines of a Pirate with shares of profit distributed along the lines established by Articles drawn up and voluntarily signed by all members of the crew. A Free Trader Captain can also be a family affair following along either paternal or maternal lines. Further, a Free Trader Captain may hold the allegiance of his crew through sexual prowess, mental domination or thralldom. While the SA threads may be used to explore various methods of command; within the RP environs, outright slavery is not permitted and a PG-13 environment with occasional course language is a limiting factor to extremes.

    Free Trader Captains whose origins are ONI may come from any of the departments within the SA threads. However, those who wish to take their Captains, Ships and Crews into the RPG environs are limited. Section Zero is the source of one Player/Captain and one NPC/Captain. Approval of another from Section Zero must be obtained in advance.

  • DustBunny01


    #31846790 - 7 years ago

    *Captain speaking to his Engineer*, "This is my fucking boat, you are just renting the basement!"


    What would a Free Trader Captain be without a ship. Obviously, beached and out of a job.

    Ship size is important. A Free Trader Captain's ship must be capable of entering slipspace and thus, it must have some heft. However, a Free Trader Captain, as the title implies, is a 'Trader' not a warrior. Though a Free Trader Captain may elect to be a bit of a commerce raider, wholesale slaughter is not viewed favorably within the Free Trader Community.

    Also, Free Trader Captains operate on margins. They have to turn a profit in order to continue to both operate, retain their crews and work towards retirement in their golden years. This serves as a limiting factor. The more crew, the more payroll expenses mount up, cost of food and consumables such as air also are a factor. The ship itself needs servicing and refueling which is also a limiting factor.

    As such, heavy grade ships that require hundreds if not thousands of crew and massive engines are not allowed.

    A Captain's ship as a player is as important as the Captain's Player/Character. A Free Trader ship can range from a Mako-class Corvette to a Former UNSC Frigate, also converted to civilian use.

    Other ships that might be considered are:

    Scout Ship

    Prospecting Vessel


    ONI Sloop

    Diplomatic Shuttle

    Laden-class freighter

    Parabola-class Freighter

    CMA Supply Ship

    Choose your ship well.

  • DustBunny01


    #31846791 - 7 years ago

    What fun is there if you can't shoot back? Or, shoot first?

    Ship Weapons/etc.

    Weapons will be limited in the RPG environment. While weight itself does not matter in space, mass does. It has to be accelerated, decelerated and taken into slipspace. Every ton of mass devoted to weapons means less mass that can be allocated for cargo and cargo is LIFE.

    You will be allowed one MAC cannon if your chosen ship can support it, if using a Mako-Class Corvette, it will be a sawed off MAC cannon with lightened MAC rounds. A converted Frigate will be allowed a regular MAC cannon capable of firing regular MAC rounds. One thing to consider, if you have a MAC Cannon, it has to be concealed or specifically decommissioned (if using a Frigate) so that it will pass inspection by port authorities or UNSC capital ships. Mako-Class Corvettes never had MAC cannons so a sawed off version is carefully concealed in the keel of the ship. A Frigate would have had its MAC cannon taken off line such that components would be removed as well as some specifically damaged so that the weapon can not be used. These would have to be replaced/repaired but in such a way that an inspection would not reveal those replaced/repaired components.

    Each ship will be allowed two Unarmed Pelicans (You are traders after all...)

  • DustBunny01


    #31846792 - 7 years ago

    Jack Sparrow: Mr. Cotton. Do you have the courage and fortitude to follow orders and stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death?
    Jack Sparrow: Mr. Cotton. Answer, man.
    Mr. Gibbs: He's a mute, sir. Poor devil had his tongue cut out, so he trained the parrot to talk for him. No one's yet figured how.
    Jack Sparrow: Mr. Cotton's... parrot. Same question.
    Parrot: [squawk] Wind in the sails. Wind in the sails.
    Mr. Gibbs: Mostly, we figure, that means 'yes'.

    The Crew:

    Within the Story Arc format, how you crew your ship is basically up to you. However, the one thing that should be remembered is that your reader has to connect to your characters. Without that connection, they will not take the time to read your story(s).

    Also, if a group member decides to tell his or her story from the viewpoint of a member of the crew, not the Captain, then that will be the way the arc progresses.

    Remember, the larger the number of crew, the more difficult to maintain story cohesion.

    Within the Role Playing Game format, there are specific rules that will be adhered to.

    ONE Player/Character MUST be a Free Trader Captain.

    You are permitted to crew your ship with either NPC or player/characters or a combination of both. However, while Cyborgs are permitted; Robots are not allowed.
    You are permitted either one AI or one Brain in a Jar (*) that is confined to the ship. AIs will not be permitted to bounce around in player/NPC's armor and will not be permitted to create robotic creatures that walk around. You will also not be allowed to run riot over other computer systems.

    The AI or Brain in a Jar becomes, in essence, the heart of the ship.

    A player/character that chooses to be an AI will also be so limited unless otherwise approved.

    An AI/Brain in a Jar can relieve the player/character of creating NPCs as the AI/Brain can perform numerous functions normally done by a combination of computers and humans.

    However, physical tasks still need to be handled by humans or sentient organics.

    (*) Operation Rat Fucking: This was an ONI Section 3 project which involved the harvesting of AIs that were not military grade and known to be nearly unstable. However, these AIs were sold on to various Free Traders as a means of cutting down on crew numbers as an AI could perform certain tasks not requiring physical labor. Most of these AIs were placed within the navigation areas as well as engineering areas to program in slipspace vectors as well as monitor the ship's engines. When they malfunctioned, most ships became what later was called, "lost in transit" or "failed to return".

    The purpose of Operation Rat-Fucking was to thin the numbers of Free Traders and thus provide more trade and more profit for the UNSC's Department of Commercial Shipping * D.C.S.

    The operation was a qualified success and demonstrated to the Free Traders that Caveat Emptor applied to them as well.

    Most Free Trader Captains eliminated their AIs and went back to the older technology of a human brain in a jar or simply highly trained crew members to handle those functions with computer assistance that the AIs took over. Some retained their AIs and a market continues to exist whereby humans 'volunteer' to be converted to AIs and leave their organic body that has become either excessively crippled or so diseased that cybernetic enhancements can not be made to replace damaged or missing parts.

  • DustBunny01


    #31846793 - 7 years ago

    Trader or Pirate?

    The simple act of raising the Jolly Roger during the Golden Age of Piracy did not make you a pirate but it was a good sign that was the course you had plotted. Also, raising the Jolly Roger would generally get you hanged; so there was a downside to an open display of your intentions.

    However, the Free Traders are, for the most part, Traders. They operate outside the UNSC laws that govern trade between planets but the difficulty of running them down is not viewed as cost effective.

    The Free Traders serve a niche; they move goods from one planet to another at a reduced cost to the purchaser and allow the seller to obtain capital that could not be obtained through legitimate trade routes.

    Free Traders have also been known to engage in simple hijacking, currency manipulation, stock manipulation as well as running lotteries.

    Free Traders are also involved in the sheltering and transporting telepaths away from the grasping hands of both the UNSC and ONI; a sort of 'under the radar' space road.

    Free Traders also police their own community. Should a Free Trader Captain be known to engage in the slave trade or outright attacks on legitimate shipping with reckless endangerment of crews or causing their deaths, other Free Traders - either individually or collectively - could hunt them down and space them. In such a way, the worst elements of a libertarian mindset are reined in.

    Few worlds welcome Free Traders with open arms though very few make a serious effort to thwarting Free Trader commerce. Reach, newly terraformed, has declared itself an open world with the UNSC's blessing for trade in order to get its economy operating at the highest level of efficiency and profit. Those Free Traders that do not have open warrants on their heads or ships can move cargo into and through Reach.

  • DustBunny01


    #31846794 - 7 years ago

    Barbossa: ...the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner .

    Captain Teague: The code is the law!

    The Code

    While slavery is not allowed in the RPG, there is a binding contract between the Player/Captain and his crew (Player/Characters or NPCs).

    Whether it be called simply the Contract, Article of Agreement, the Articles, or the Code, there is a document which binds the Crew to their Captain and to the Ship.

    It can be as simply as signing one's name in the Ship's log following the offered and accepted portion of the profit to a detailed listing of terms of service, obligations and requirements of each member of the crew combined with shares in the profits that are accrued due to service.

    How detailed you get in this is up to the individual Player/Captain.

  • DustBunny01


    #31846795 - 7 years ago

    An Example:


    I Every member shall obey the commands of their superiors and will act, at all times, to further the goals of the Ironclad Legion.

    II. Every member has equal title to fresh provisions unless a scarcity makes it necessary for the good of all to vote a retrenchment.

    III. Once ownership of property is conferred, any member stealing from another will be beached after a suitable punishment upon the transgressor is carried out after a vote by the other members. If property held in common or ship’s property be stolen, the transgressor will be spaced.

    ..IV. With the exception of the Master/Commander and the Captain, all members to maintain due diligence on all assigned watches and duties. Failure will result in being either flogged, beached or spaced, depending on circumstances.

    V. All members to keep their equipment, armor and weapons clean and ready for service at all times. Transgressors to be punished upon vote of other members.

    VI. To abandon one’s duty to the ship and crew in the heat of battle will result in spacing. If a member be found intoxicated prior to battle such that they are a risk to themselves and other members of the crew will be confined and beached will full lose of property at the first opportunity. If a member admit to cowardice prior to battle, that person will be confined and beached with their property as previously accrued at the first opportunity.

    VII. Disputes between members to be tried by the crew with either the Captain or Quartermaster acting as Judge to insure fairness of proceedings.

    VIII Division of spoils to be as follows: Ship’s Fund to receive 3 shares, Captain and Quartermaster to have 2 shares each, Senior Officers to receive 1 1/2 shares each, Junior Officers and Senior Specialists to receive 1 1/4 share each, Assorted Crew to receive 1 share each.

    …IX Provision for the injured will be drawn from the Ship’s Fund as a pension for those unable to remain with the crew due to disability.

    X Private duels to be settled ashore under the supervision of the Quartermaster. Survivor, if in the wrong, will be beached.