I’m reviewing possibilities for an upcoming Burning Empires game (tonight!), and one of the things I’m considering is a pirate/smuggler. So, of course, he’ll need a ship!
My assumptions concerning what’s necessary: it should be Low Index at most, given that pirates generally aren’t going to be from the few shiny parts of the universe, nor are they rich. It should have room for a small crew AND a modest amount of cargo. It needs to be armed, but shouldn’t look like a military vehicle. Signals and sensors are important, to detect prey and keep them from alerting help. Armor is not particularly necessary; we’re not looking to pick a fair fight! Speed is a nice perk. Finally, it should have some sort of ability to disable prey if possible; for example, a nail gun.
The ideal vehicle would probably be the Hammer Assault Shuttle or Hammer Patrol Craft (if your crew is prosperous enough).
Considering the rules about owning military spacecraft (“Hammer Lord, Anvil Lord and Forged Lord”, p. 112), I suspect that a pirate ship would have to be modified up from a civilian vehicle, rather than modified down from a military one. That’s OK, considering that’s probably what would actually happen.
Correct me if I’m wrong about any of the ship classes: Civilian Interstellar Hammer appears to be strictly a passenger vehicle- the station wagon of the interstellar routes (3 passengers or cargo). Therefore, not a great pirate vehicle; we need both crew and a reasonable amount of cargo space. Civilian Intergalactic Hammer is only slightly larger, with much more range. However, it still doesn’t have much in the way of cargo space, and besides, it’s High Index. Mercators seem to be interstellar buses/cruise ships/passenger liners. A good target for pirates, but not necessarily a good ship.
That pretty much leaves the cargo shuttle. Zero index, so the base ship should be abundant. It can carry a small crew plus cargo. Low profile. Control sucks, but not any worse than the Hammer Assault Shuttle. Signals and sensors aren’t as good, but they can be upgraded or simply rely on a good crew (upgrading them could make for a good Scene). Obviously some ordinance is necessary- a vehicular mount at a minimum if you want to mount a nail gun. Two would be better, as a nail gun isn’t that damaging aside from disruption effects. Speed needs to be boosted.
Hidden Gun Mount (+4 points)
This ship sports a mount for a vehicular weapon (often a nail gun) hidden behind a panel in the fuselage. It adds a +2Ob to all Sensors checks to detect this weapon (categorical limitation).
I’m thinking this would automatically count as Advanced/Illegal/Restricted and thus cost 2 points at character burning, as well as requiring one of the traits for owning a spacecraft. Would two of these mounts be reasonable, with the rest of the upgrades coming in-game?