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uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#1
is it possible for a pirate faction to expand uncontrolled even if there is decent security?

is it possible to assist the pirate faction by giving selling them ships, weapons, and resources to expand with?

can we hire a pirate faction to disrupt the economy to the point where you would be one of the few sources that someone could get a commodity and as a result it being highly profitable?

would it be possible to have a group of pirates attack bounty hunters or damage the supply of the market without others knowing by specifically giving a contract to a faction of pirates or mercenaries?

how would piracy become difficult to control to the point where there are pablo escobar levels of "crime"
and piracy?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Escobar

here are multiple scenarios that i can come up with:

1. in this scenario you are trying to make money off of an ore or ores that has high supply and low demand as a result but is still highly used. if your agenda is to lower the supply and wanted to sabotage the market you may hire some pirates and make some deal with them so they destroy the ships and you give them more money the more ships they destroy while also making sure they leave your ships alone in the deal. because of this deal the price of said ore is higher because the pirates are destroying the ships AND their "loot."

2. this is the same situation different, solution. in this scenario you hire pirates who are capable of expanding and operating in a system even though it has decent or good security and they actually make money from destroying ships to sabotage the economy for others or loot from the ships for their own benefit. as a result you have a presence of saboteurs who are lowering the supply of some commodity whose high demand you really want to profit from.

3. you have your hired saboteur pirates attack and destroy what security they can and then have them destroy whatever cargo ships/ mining are in the system and whatever ore/cargo they were carrying and then you put your own commodity on the market. you then have them destroy or damage whatever warp rails you think aren't as important to you as they'd be to others.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#2
jonathanredden wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:04 pm
is it possible for a pirate faction to expand uncontrolled even if there is decent security?
Well if there is security for ships and civilians then expansion is slowed in rate. With as large as LT universe is, I would assume that anything is possible. Pirates might even become so powerful that they become something akin to the Mafia, and if left unchecked could create a form of government which suits their needs. Remember, pirates exist to exploit the system for their own gain. If a community refuses to adapt the pirates will flourish. So, with this in mind, it's an AI stubbornness and ingenuity question.
jonathanredden wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:04 pm
is it possible to assist the pirate faction by giving selling them ships, weapons, and resources to expand with?
Yes, LT allows the player to be anything they want to be. This includes becoming a pirate and working under a pirate warlord. I'd be very disappointed if it wasn't.
jonathanredden wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:04 pm

Can we hire a pirate faction to disrupt the economy to the point where you would be one of the few sources that someone could get a commodity and as a result it being highly profitable?
I don't see why not. Again, one of the driving points of LT is "be anyone do anything" so preventing this would hurt the trust between those who backed the project and Procedural Reality.
Short answer "YES".
jonathanredden wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:04 pm
Would it be possible to have a group of pirates attack bounty hunters or damage the supply of the market without others knowing by specifically giving a contract to a faction of pirates or mercenaries?
Again, if this isn't possible in LT I don't know why I'm here. YES, this had better be possible.
jonathanredden wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:04 pm
How would piracy become difficult to control to the point where there are pablo escobar levels of "crime"
and piracy?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Escobar
That depends on the AI and how many smart NPCs there are fighting for control. (I have not viewed your link yet)
jonathanredden wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:04 pm
here are multiple scenarios that i can come up with:

1. in this scenario you are trying to make money off of an ore or ores that has high supply and low demand as a result but is still highly used. if your agenda is to lower the supply and wanted to sabotage the market you may hire some pirates and make some deal with them so they destroy the ships and you give them more money the more ships they destroy while also making sure they leave your ships alone in the deal. because of this deal the price of said ore is higher because the pirates are destroying the ships AND their "loot."

2. this is the same situation different, solution. in this scenario you hire pirates who are capable of expanding and operating in a system even though it has decent or good security and they actually make money from destroying ships to sabotage the economy for others or loot from the ships for their own benefit. as a result you have a presence of saboteurs who are lowering the supply of some commodity whose high demand you really want to profit from.

3. you have your hired saboteur pirates attack and destroy what security they can and then have them destroy whatever cargo ships/ mining are in the system and whatever ore/cargo they were carrying and then you put your own commodity on the market. you then have them destroy or damage whatever warp rails you think aren't as important to you as they'd be to others.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#3
Oh gosh, if I can't make El Mágico proud, LT is a total failure and not worthy to be played :p

In all seriousness, Yes, theoretically. It all depends on the complexity of Cause and Effect, that let a situation play out organically.

However, if the AI understood that destroying the supply from competitors, the price will go up and they'll make money with a larger share of the market... That would be very cool.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#4
Wait, isn't that basically the same thing as hiring mercenaries?
Although, I guess mercs would try to keep to a certain standard and maintain their reputation, while pirates would be willing to do anything. (There's a fine line between mercs and pirates/bandits...)

And if I remember one of Josh's old devlogs correctly, factions would understand that damaging an opponent's assets would hamper their operational capability and remove them from the competition, and thus result in higher market shares and bigger profits.
I THINK I remember seeing a faction posting jobs to attack another faction's ships to hurt their operations, but I'm not 100% positive on this.

In any case, a group of pirates would just be another faction, only overly aggressive and hostile towards everyone except themselves. ...Unless you paid them a lot.

Hmm, extortion gigs.
Job: pay us protection money
Reward: safe passage through our turf for X amount of time
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#6
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:23 am
Why shouldnt it be possible for "pirate" factions to expand?

Mechanically they are the same as every other faction.
Except they are making their living another way.

Everything a "normal" faction can do they can do
I agree with this, with two caveats:

1. Although pirates should be free to expand the physical or political territory they conquer, there might be some structural reasons why pirates are bad at doing so beyond a certain size. What if trust is a functional component for growing and maintaining a factional organization? I'd imagine pirates might be bad at that.

2. If there are no structural features impeding pirate expansion, it might be necessary to invent some mechanical limits. It might seem interesting if pirates could spread unchecked to any size, but maybe not if they get so big as to be a game-ender.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#7
I would agree too. At some point pirates stop being "pirates" and become more of their own government - a government aimed primarily at ruthlessly destroying everything in their path, more or less. If there was a mechanical limit, I would say that maybe it should be something like, say... ships require some sort of "something" to maintain, perhaps a faction-wide fuel supply - and this fuel supply, while it can be acquired through piracy and combat, can only typically be considered reliable if you have a home system and mining operations set up. That would discourage infinitely-expanding pirate bands, but would encourage roving pirate bands or smaller ones that target a single system and prey on the miners. Thus, you get "traditional pirates" and "nomadic pirate civilizations" with no clear bounding line between them, but the larger they get, the more they must keep in motion just to find enough fuel to stay afloat.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#8
I don't see why pirates should be treated any differently or given special mechanics to stop them from becoming the Huns and Mongols... Sometimes you're fighting Blackbeard, Sometimes you're fighting Genghis Khan, sometimes you ARE Genghis Khan.

However, the stability of a faction that chooses to survive by piracy does have limitations, not explicit mechanical ones, but implicit logical ones. Pirates are akin to predators in a foodchain, they can only grow so much before "Steal this other person's stuff and/or kill them" stops being a viable option, and they either have to move to a new location, or start making their own stuff, at least the basics.

And territory held by "pirates" would probably be rather self-limiting, because not only are different AI within the faction going to be vying for power(hopefully), splintering the group, but conquering a place and governing it are very different tasks. If the "pirates" can govern well, they're a government in addition to being pirates...Maybe not a democracy or kingdom, but a government. The Islamic State claimed to be a government, a true state. And for a while, it was providing services expected of a government, so it was for all intents and purposes genuinely a government. As they started losing territory, money, natural resources, they couldn't maintain those services and so were no longer a government regardless of their claims.

The ability to offer services like protection from harm, infrastructure, dispute resolution, and so on are what define a government. If your faction can provide not only for it's own few members, but also friendly's in the territory it controls, they're a government. Whether this government supports itself through taxing friendly's in it's territory, raiding nearby areas, providing goods and services to the marketplace or because someone's using an infinite money cheat doesn't really matter.

At least ideally. If the reality of Josh's AI doesn't play out like this, some explicitly defined mechanics could be put in.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#9
Hyperion wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:21 pm
However, the stability of a faction that chooses to survive by piracy does have limitations, not explicit mechanical ones, but implicit logical ones. Pirates are akin to predators in a foodchain, they can only grow so much before "Steal this other person's stuff and/or kill them" stops being a viable option, and they either have to move to a new location, or start making their own stuff, at least the basics.
The issue here is that pirates don't actually have anything to limit them. They could conceivably figure out how to keep wrecking everything in sight until everything is gone - and they would essentially work like an expanding forest fire, leaving nothing in their wake but dead systems. Forever. As they went farther, they would gain more momentum, snowballing into an unstoppable force until everything in the center of the galaxy is dead, and continue to expand ad infinitum.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#10
Sounds like a fun scenario to me! An unlikely scenario, but a fun one. I personally doubt it would happen, eventually it would hit a faction or team of factions that could stop them. I'd actually be very much okay with this scenario, so long as it didn't happen too frequently.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#11
Talvieno wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:28 pm
Hyperion wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:21 pm
However, the stability of a faction that chooses to survive by piracy does have limitations, not explicit mechanical ones, but implicit logical ones. Pirates are akin to predators in a foodchain, they can only grow so much before "Steal this other person's stuff and/or kill them" stops being a viable option, and they either have to move to a new location, or start making their own stuff, at least the basics.
The issue here is that pirates don't actually have anything to limit them. They could conceivably figure out how to keep wrecking everything in sight until everything is gone - and they would essentially work like an expanding forest fire, leaving nothing in their wake but dead systems. Forever. As they went farther, they would gain more momentum, snowballing into an unstoppable force until everything in the center of the galaxy is dead, and continue to expand ad infinitum.
I'm okay with this.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#12
Talvieno wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:28 pm
Hyperion wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:21 pm
However, the stability of a faction that chooses to survive by piracy does have limitations, not explicit mechanical ones, but implicit logical ones. Pirates are akin to predators in a foodchain, they can only grow so much before "Steal this other person's stuff and/or kill them" stops being a viable option, and they either have to move to a new location, or start making their own stuff, at least the basics.
The issue here is that pirates don't actually have anything to limit them. They could conceivably figure out how to keep wrecking everything in sight until everything is gone - and they would essentially work like an expanding forest fire, leaving nothing in their wake but dead systems. Forever. As they went farther, they would gain more momentum, snowballing into an unstoppable force until everything in the center of the galaxy is dead, and continue to expand ad infinitum.
And wheres that different to a generally hostile "normal" faction?

You dont have to be a "pirate" faction to go around shooting people to smithereens.
A pirate has even less reason to do so because those people are what supplies em and thus should keep them generally alive to rob them another day.

A xenophobic empire doesnt have to keep them alive as resource spigots
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#13
The first thing to add here probably needs to be the distinction between Pirate and Reaver. A pirate is a rational actor, whose means may be brutal but whose ends are recognizably economic. A reaver is a murdering monster.

By that definition, it seems unreasonable to me that reavers, whose only goal is destruction, could ever work together well enough to grow beyond a single star system. So just speaking personally, I don't really buy the idea of an ever-expanding reaver menace.

OTOH, this distinction also suggests that actual pirates might be capable of organizing well enough to expand meaningfully. If so, the organization necessary to achieve this could pretty much turn them into a more-or-less typical government, with a level of boring bureaucracy that might one day cause members to realize, "Um... we're not really pirates any more, are we?"

Hyperion wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:21 pm
I don't see why pirates should be treated any differently or given special mechanics to stop them from becoming the Huns and Mongols... Sometimes you're fighting Blackbeard, Sometimes you're fighting Genghis Khan, sometimes you ARE Genghis Khan.

I consider this a "playstyle preference" question. Some people may want to play LT like a roguelike: each game lasts no more than a few hours, and it's fun to see what new game-ending thing kills you this time. For them, the occasional Death By Infinite Pirates could seem pretty cool.

Other people may want to play LT as a never-ending sandbox. For them, a game-ending pirate plague would be a bug, not a feature.

Hyperion wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:21 pm
However, the stability of a faction that chooses to survive by piracy does have limitations, not explicit mechanical ones, but implicit logical ones. Pirates are akin to predators in a foodchain, they can only grow so much before "Steal this other person's stuff and/or kill them" stops being a viable option, and they either have to move to a new location, or start making their own stuff, at least the basics.

And territory held by "pirates" would probably be rather self-limiting, because not only are different AI within the faction going to be vying for power(hopefully), splintering the group, but conquering a place and governing it are very different tasks.

This is pretty close to what I was thinking when I suggested there might be "structural" impediments to pirate growth. If factional growth is not a pre-programmed event, but rather an emergent effect when NPCs work together as an organization toward a common goal, then whatever enables factional growth might also act as a limiter, in the same way that most cars can run when fueled with gas but must stop when they're out of gas.

So perhaps for a faction to grow depends on several qualities, one of which might be that the members trust each other enough to cooperate instead of constantly clawing at each other for power. If there's just enough cooperation for some growth, a very successful pirate faction might be able to take over a handful of connected star systems, but the limits to cooperation constitute an effective upper limit on how big a piratical faction can become.

In other words, while a pirate group (unlike reavers) might have just enough rationality to field a minimally functional organization across one or a few star systems, it seems plausible to me that their own internal power struggles could prevent them from being workable at any larger size.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#14
There is another distinction that splits reavers into two very different groups

Omnicidial Reavers
And
Xenocidial Reavers

For the first kind, the kind that simply wants to kill and destroy i agree with you fully.
I wouldnt expect those to become much larger than a couple of stations and a small fleet bound together by the hand of the meanest of them. (Or bound by nothing specific like the reavers from firefly if memory serves right)

But for the second kind, the ones that want to kill everything thats not them, could have a very nuanced and complex internal structure built on cooperation.
For example like the empire of man in warhammer 40k
a Xenocidial, imperialistic, expansionistic moloch which is still very human on the inside (although more of the bad things humanity has created in its history, parts of that with very good reasoning, though)

Both look similar from the receiving end, you and everything you built and knew is gone.
But they have very different internal structures and stability boundary conditions.

Kill the leader of the omnicidials and they'll erupt in bloody internal fighting once they notice.
touch the god emperor and humanity will come crashing down on you in revenge.
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Re: uncontrolled piracy (you should really open these maybe very good questions)

#15
Again, I think the "Game ending" pirate plague just won't happen unless the balancing has explicitly been adjusted to allow it.

In LT there are not "Pirate" NPCs, there are just NPCs engaging in piracy. At least as far as we know. Faction mechanics were never really clarified, but I can imagine Factions coming in different flavors, Corporation, Navy, Cartel, Republic, Monarchy, Mercenary Band, Guild, Federation, Pirates, etc. Each of them having explicitly defined (if hidden from the player) tendencies and internal structures for transition of power, hierarchies, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, and so on. In this Faction Definitions, pirate factions could have serious trust issues with each other, and the transition of power could be based on who in the group is strongest and most liked, or just whoever killed the last guy who was in charge. But that's really something we'll need to probably discuss more thoroughly in another topic at some point.

Also, to bring the topic back to Pablo Escobar for a bit, The Medellin Cartel was brutal, but mainly towards rival cartels and the official government of Colombia. Bribing officials and assassinating them if bribery didn't work. They didn't however, specifically target innocent and unrelated civilians. Yes innocents might have been caught up in the violence, and the families of enemies were also assassinated, but Escobar was actually quite popular, with a Robin Hood image, as he gave back to the community with some of the vast wealth he made selling drugs. That brings up three things worth considering.

First, Factions arising within controlled territory. How would those be handled? Should no faction ever be allowed to form in already controlled territory? Maybe for some totalitarian communist factions, but for others this would mean corporations and guilds wouldn't form either, entities which the controlling faction might find better to tax than to kill.

Second, Bribes. How amenable to bribes are individual members of a faction? And when to resort to assassination when bribes don't work?

Third, Robin Hood. Can an enemy of the official ruling faction, the "legitimate" government, be well liked by the governed, specifically because the governed don't like the legitimate government? Presumably you would like those "pirates" if they gave you some of the spoils without you having to do anything, even if the government says they're bad and an enemy... and hell, why not bring the Nazi's into it, and ask If it is a faction which has election mechanics, could factions be political parties, rising to power through any means necessary before taking control of the whole thing?


As for Reavers, seems like a pretty logical outcome of one's personality vectors being heavily shifted towards aggression. Xenocidal and omnicidal being distinguished by their sociability.
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