13 August 2013

Traveller Tuesday

There's a debate.

A long tedious debate.

Is piracy viable in the Traveller universe?

I think that it is.

First.  The Imperium is a cash business.  This is despite the currency being named the "credit".

Because communications happen at the speed of jump, pretty much any form of modern banking we can imagine doesn't work at interstellar distances.

So currency transfers are literal transportation of piles of cash.

Second.  Hijacking is mentioned specifically as a danger of carrying passengers.  In this section it's mentioned that there's a ready market for the hijackers to unload their stolen ship.

So now we have two decent temptations for a pirate.

Vast distances and spotty coverage from law enforcement means that pirates will have opportunity to attack and capture their quarry.

In many ways commerce in the Traveller universe can be compared to Elizabethan times, which was also a time of high piracy.  In the Spinward Marches there's also a border nearby with lots of nations who are at best cool in their relations with the Imperium (and the Zhodani Consulate).  Those places provide safe haven for pirates.

Something else that matters is the Imperium uses privateers in its wars, it's got to be a damned patriotic captain and crew to go home and watch the grass grow when they've got a ship that's not really good for anything but piracy.

Traveller Tuesday officially belongs to Erin, I'm just dangling from her coat tails on the idea.


  1. Isn't the opening to Traveller something like this? It definitely implies piracy..

    "This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone...Mayday, Mayday...we are under attack...main drive is gone...turret number one not responding...Mayday...losing cabin pressure fast...calling anyone...please help...This is Free Trader Beowulf...Mayday...."

  2. Piracy is explicitly mention in the setting.

    The endless debate is whether piracy is plausible. Often the specifics miss the generalities that make piracy lucrative.

    One key part of the puzzle in both the 17th century and Traveller is a recently ended war and large numbers of people who know nothing except how to man a fighting ship.


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