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Wounded Ronin
So, you know how back in the Caribbean in the 1600s you had a lot of port towns, like Port Royale, which for all intents and purposes functioned as good bases for pirates who liked to raid the Spanish main?

My understanding is that the port provided a good place to sell and spend raided booty and, since Port Royale was controlled by the British, it was kind of like a safe spot or a haven for people who spent their time pirating the Spanish.

In the context of Shadowrun, do you think it would be appropriate for there to be places like Port Royale where shadowrunners or smugglers might be able to stay relatively safely?

For example, perhaps there's an island in the Caribean which is owned by a UCAS megacorp. The UCAS megacorp might turn a blind eye to people who stay on that island who use it as a launching pad or a safe hidey space to go and do crap against Aztechnology in Mexico from. Perhaps Aztechnology can't go and blow up the island in force because of the political implications so the best it could try and do might be to send assassins to that island but then the assassins would have a hard time because everyone on the island would kill them on sight if they knew they were from Aztechnology.

Could that concept work in SR, or is someone going to jump out of the bushes with a cannon reference that says that that's not allowed to happen and that the metaplot will come and eat me if I so much as suggest it?
I think the Cascade Crow area was good for this in the past IIRC, just north of Seattle. May have changed with the govermental change though. New Orleans was also a good spot, although not quite a free-for-all.
Privateers, please.

Target: Smuggler's Havens suggests that Russia is dominated by Saeder-Krup and Zeta-ImpChem while Cross Applied Technologies has some pull with their national police. It goes on to state that Russia has a giant navy and is very protective of its shipping lanes due to its proximity to Japan.

As long as the pirating is done outside of Russian shipping lanes and the victims were not allied with Saeder-Krup, Zeta-ImpChem, or Cross you should be realitivly safe in Vladivostok.
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Privateers, please.

Arrggghhh. Real men o' the sea don't need no damn license.
Not only is it very plausible in the sixth world. (Extraterritoriality, anyone?) But I would say that Cyberpirates supports exactly that sort of thing.
Demonseed Elite
Though it doesn't utilize extraterritoriality, the Sai Kung region of Hong Kong is very much like this, with corporate shipping often the pirates' targets. The villages of Sai Kung have friendlier relations with the pirates than with the corps and so they provide shelter for them and trade in their stolen goods.

The old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong has been converted into an open-air bazaar selling assorted black market or stolen goods, most of it off-loaded right onto the old runway from sampan boats ferrying the goods from the pirates.

All this is in Runner Havens.

I also have ideas for a sprawl along these lines for a future sprawl book, but we'll see how that goes.
*cough* Caracas *cough*
QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Oct 27 2006, 09:56 AM)
Privateers, please.

Arrggghhh. Real men o' the sea don't need no damn license.

I stole mine off fo someone else. Does it still count?

Ultimately though, I'd tend to agree with Jong, Caracas (and possibly Guayana too, depending on its political status) is in a great place that could profit greatly from such things. But seriously, I don't know if much of anything in the carribean area is too well defined. If we assume most of the Carribean islands are part of the Carribean league, and they don't support piracy (I don't know why they would), and that Columbia is more or less like it is now, partially allied with the US (er... UCAS) against the dominate drug lords, Venzuela is in the best place to base out of. They have poor relations with the UCAS/CAS, and from what I've seen, aren't dominated by a lot of megacorps. But I guess we'll find out soon...
Demonseed Elite
QUOTE (nezumi)
But seriously, I don't know if much of anything in the carribean area is too well defined. If we assume most of the Carribean islands are part of the Carribean league, and they don't support piracy (I don't know why they would).

On the world stage, the leaders of the Caribbean League proclaim their war on piracy all the time. In reality, most of those leaders are entirely corrupt and make personal fortunes off of the pirates that operate in their waters but prey on Aztlan and CAS ships.

Hell, the president of Borinquen (formerly Puerto Rico) is a pirate.
Arrrgh, me hearties! Off pirating we go!

For some reason, I keep having an image of a arcraft carrier flying the Jolly Roger.
I find the concept facinating.
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Oct 26 2006, 06:56 PM)
Privateers, please.


depends on who is shooting at them.
Fort Dauphin in Madagascar is pretty much a pirate city with absolutely no central authority, IIRC you can even buy and sell bioweapons there if you have enough cash and know the right people. Over in the Pacific I seem to remember Shadows of Asia saying that that Guam Freeport is pretty much a den of iniquity and haven for much of the Pacific. Seems one of local admirals decided to pull a Saito and not obey orders when the UCAS pulled out and turned the place into one big free port. And Demonseed Elite's already mentioned Borinquen and most of the Caribbean League.

Interesting fact of the day, it seems the US Constitution allows Congress to issue Letters of Marque. Now Letters of Marque were outlawed by the 1856 Declaration of Paris but guess who isn't a signatory of that? Yeah, the US. Seems you guys recognised it during the Spanish-American War and the Civil War but only for the duration of hostilities so I've been told. Thanks to MooCow for telling me that. So with the UCAS being the successor state to the US and the CAS being a completely new one, they should legally still be able to issue them. smile.gif
That information is probably useless, but still very interesting. Thanks for sharing wink.gif.
QUOTE (Butterblume @ Nov 2 2006, 05:52 AM)
That information is probably useless ...

I wouldn't say that. Basically, that little tidbit means that the UCAS Government is allowed to legally and openly hire (on a percentage of loot - commission basis even!) Shadowrunning-type people for specific tasks. biggrin.gif
um. the problem being that it's OPEN. Shadowrunners are hired for thier (supposed) secrecy and deniability.

and what self-respecting shadowrunner is going to sign a contract like that?

might be a good idea to BS your way past the army though.
Notice I said 'shadowrunner-type'. wink.gif

I'm looking the legality issue. Every government covertly uses runner types to accomplish certain goals. The UCAS can do that as well, but they can also openly hire pirates, revolutionaries, terrorists, and other sundry people of the like, all technically legal and above board, while other nations have an agreement that technically makes it illegal for them to do likewise.
I'd generally see the CAS as the more likely of the two to use it if things with Aztlan got more tense or moved into outright warfare. Since they only have a brown water coastal navy it'd be easier to issue Letters of Marque if they wanted to go after their commercial shipping around the world than do it themselves.
Is there anything about a 'Letter-of-Marque' that legally and specifically limits its issue to seafaring adventurers (ie pirate types)? I am under the impression that there is no such limitation, but am open to correction. smile.gif

If that is the case, and no mariner-limitation exists, then land-based (and air/space-based) operations could also fall under a Letter-of-Marque.
To get back to the original post for a moment, just remembered that the Coastal Provinces in north-east China are also a pirate nexus according to Shadows of Europe and use Letters of Marque frequently.
Letters of Marquis don't give you the right to attack commercial shipping whilly-nilly. There are specific warrants in response to specific offenses, not unlike a search warrant or an arrest warrant. They give specific rights and specific limitations to their recipients. Going beyond the bounds of those rights makes one a pirate (on the sea) or a thief (on land). They generally do not allow a privateer to enter into the territory of another nation, limiting him to international waters (or airspace) and disputed territories.

There are, however, 6 Articles in Section VII of the Hague Convention that complicate the issuance of such letters in wartime.

Article 1
A merchant ship converted into a war-ship cannot have the rights and duties accruing to such vessels unless it is placed under the direct authority, immediate control, and responsibility of the Power whose flag it flies.

Art. 2.
Merchant ships converted into war-ships must bear the external marks which distinguish the war-ships of their nationality.

Art. 3.
The commander must be in the service of the State and duly commissioned by the competent authorities. His name must figure on the list of the officers of the fighting fleet.

Art. 4.
The crew must be subject to military discipline.

Art. 5.
Every merchant ship converted into a war-ship must observe in its operations the laws and customs of war.

The first article is the easiest. The Letter itself is indicative of direct authority, immediate control, and responsibility.
The second article is also easy, the ships can be painted with the correct markings while weapons are being added.
The third article is a little more difficult but still easy. The issuance of such a Letter must be accompanied by a commission as an officer in the Navy. Simply passing a law that states that a letter of Marquis automatically grants anyone issued one the rank of Captain in the navy would solve this problem. Such field commissions are not unheard of, although they are unusual in modern warfare.
The fourth is the most difficult, in this case "military discipline" really refers to military law. Every member of the crew must be subject to it. A simple declaration is enough on Congress' end but the crew must actually learn and follow the aproperiate laws.
The fifth is about the same as the fourth. It requires to crew to know and follow the laws of war.

However, the Hague Convention only applies in war. If it is a "police action" then one can ignore it.
But you can only bring police action on people who are within your own jurisdiction, canīt you? Quite limiting to the hunt on cargo ships, and all the wrong targets. True piracy needs deniable assets.
I seem to recollect some gentleman in Florida tried to get a new Letter of Marque issued for his boat, but for reasons unknown, Congress denied his request. You'd think a Republican congress would be a little kinder about enabling its citizens in such regards.
But you can only bring police action on people who are within your own jurisdiction, canīt you?

Not according to the US for the last forty years or so.

QUOTE (Fortune)
Is there anything about a 'Letter-of-Marque' that legally and specifically limits its issue to seafaring adventurers (ie pirate types)?

I found some historical examples of Letters of Marque, including a couple of American ones issued for the war of 1812. The terms vary, with some of the old English ones being quite long and detailed, and the more modern American letters being quite short.
Bonus. Thanks for that.
I note that they tend to be specific for a particular ship and ships captain. Implying that any drastic changes in personnel would necessitate a new Letter.

In terms of a SR campaign. A Letter would probably have to be issued to a specific vessel or vehicle. I could readily imagine a Letter being issued to a particular T-Bird and it's crew.
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