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Trade related random / semi-random events or behaviors

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This is just pure right-brainstorming, no rules, anything (related) goes... What are some interesting random events or behaviors relating to trade or loot that you can think of that would be interesting to encounter while traveling through space? Assume you can scan at a distance (with scanners of varying range and resolution), use stealth, board ships and explore them and travel with escorts as a standard action. Also, assume trade is via cargo pods between two ships in deep space; docking (if both are allies or neutrals with a good reputation); or aboard a neutral or friendly capital ship or station. If possible, indicate how frequent you think this should be and whether or not you think it should be based on some environmental factor such as piracy or war.
Here's some of what I have. Variants with an -or- are logical, in that only one or the other can possibly be true; otherwise all variants can be mixed or matched for each topic. Accidents Around jump points and in areas where sensor activity is poor (violent anomalies or nebulas) two or more ships can collide. The ships take random damage. Cargo of varying quality and damage level is ejected. If capable, the ship collects the cargo. Picking up the cargo and leaving with it is a crime if you're seen, but the victim must scan you for a minimum of 3 to 5 seconds (allowing you to stealth, disrupt the scan or get out of dodge), then radio the scan or make it back to base. Giving it back increases your standing with the captain, whom you may meet later. Variant 1 Same as above but if your rep is clean the victim offers a reward for helping collect the stray cargo. Variant 2 Same as above but the victim radios allies for help and a task force appears within 2 to 10 minutes (sooner the closer a friendly base is). The force is composed of combat ships if enemies are near the victim. Variant 3 The ship's life support or engines are damaged, setting up a time limit for the rescue. If you rescue the crew, you gain a boost in reputation with the faction; if you rescue the cargo and the crew, you gain a positive rep boost and the faction you work for improves diplomatic relations with the faction you've helped; if you rescue only the cargo, you are rewarded or condemned based on the attitude of the faction (e.g., soulless megacorp vs. noble do-gooders) Variant 4 (Cancels Others) Everybody dies, both ships are destroyed. You can collect the cargo for free and sell it provided you can wipe the security and origin codes (and your crew is shady). Allies will attack if you do, neutrals may scan and report you; enemies of the faction may try to scarf up the cargo or attack you for it if it's valuable enough -or- Same as above except the law of the zone is "salvage rights" which allows you to keep anything you collect free of consequences.
Discounters A ship's captain comms you and offers a discount on several goods it bought at a local station, citing that he/she needs to dump the cargo due to a change in plans. The price offered is random but lower than the local selling price. If refused, the ship will try any NPC ships near you or will move toward an exit point. Variation 1 Same as above but the goods turn out to be tainted or defective, revealed by either a successful scan or when trying to sell the item. If revealed, the ship attacks briefly and runs, stealths and runs or just runs to the nearest exit. By scanning it for 3 to 5 seconds you gain a modest reward for reporting a scammer. -or- The goods turn out to be illegal, hinted at by the fact that the trader has a poor reputation, the price is astronomically low or the environment is lawless. If detected by the police, the goods must be surrendered for no profit or you earn the reputation of criminal. Variation 2 The ship actually simply jettisons the goods. If it does so, the goods are always of cheap value (iron ores, water, etc.).
Pirate Thuggery Between one and x pirate ships of varying classes are attacking one or more trade ships. All sides have random hit points (lower the longer the battle has been going on, with a random determination spreading more damage toward one side or the other depending on who is decided to be winning or losing). Variation 1 The trade ships may offer a reward for you to help. Doing so will improve your reputation and may even improve diplomatic relations between your faction (if you are part of one) and the faction under attack. Variation 2 Authorities or allies of the traders will be arriving in anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes. One minute before arrival ships are announced to be warping in. -or- No help is forthcoming. Escort defenders are hulks or debris. -or- No help is forthcoming, the pirates are jamming transmissions. If you relay the call for help it is the same as attempting to help (with a lesser reward) but the pirates will attempt to stop you from leaving -or- Help is too far away to arrive in time. Variation 3 Random cargo is floating around the area, and some pirate ships will be picking it up. If you come within range the pirates will warn you away if you're not part of their faction or attack. -or- The trade ships have seeded a shell of stealthed mines which the pirates are working to clear Variation 4 The trade ships are actually Q-ships. Panels explode off the side of fake cargo pods revealing missile launchers and laser turrets which shower the pirates with flak and fire. If damaged, the Q-ships begin to rapidly repair or are instantly repaired (because they were faking damage with sensor tricks)
Two Traders Two traders come to rest opposite each other. Laser pulses indicate conversation between the two. After awhile, one or more trade skiffs / shuttle begins flying toward the other. The other ship may reciprocate with the same. Variant 1 Nearby police ships unstealth and begin disabling one ship. The trader not under attack switches its beacon to a police ship and begins attacking. The ship under attack fights back and tries to escape. -or- Both ships fall under attack and try to escape. Variant 2 The cargo skiffs begin exploding near one ship, possibly disabling it. Both ships begin to fight, although one may try to flee. -or- One ship, after scanning the cargo skiffs, either turns to flee or attacks them. The skiffs become either bombs or missiles. -or- One ship explodes after accepting a skiff. The other ship collects its skiffs and stealths or flees. Any additions?

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Accidents
variant 5

One of the cargo pods contains some illegal goods being smuggled for a local crime boss.

-and/or-

The crime boss place a bounty on the player.

-and/or-

When the player tries to dock at a local station they discover armed police waiting for them. A police operative managed to attach a stealth transmitter to the illegal cargo and the police have now confused the player with the smugglers.


Stow away
One of the recently purchased cargo pods contains more then just cargo and a life form has stowed away in the pod and is now aboard the ship.

-and 1 -
The Life form is poor teenager but gifted in a random skill.

-or 1a -
The life form is an escaped criminal, who if caught can be returned for to the police for a reward.

-or 1b -
The life form is the arrogant run away daughter of a wealthy governor / politician / businessman who believes his daughter to have been kidnapped.

-or 1c-
The life form is a dangerous alien/sieger who begins to attack and feed on members of the crew.

-and 1ci-
The crew realize that the attacks are the results of the alien and demand you take action or become to afraid to work.

-or 1cii-
The crew believes the attacks are in fact a mysterious illness aboard the vessel and demand that the infected crew be quarantined or jettisoned.

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Thanks TechnoGoth, exactly what I was looking for.

Judging by the overwhelming response, though, methinks I should have posted this at another time. [smile] (It's finals and holidays for many!)

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One stolen from gazzilionaire:

Mechanic
You encounter a mechanic that offers to make a modification to your ship for a price/ trade goods.

Basically you could encounter many different kind of specialists that would be willing to do an odd job for a price. The question is whether you would trust them.... and whether trusting them is a smart choice.


More events:

A derelict ship has lack of oxygen/fuel/food etc. They plead for the specific good they need to survive. There could be no immediate reward. There could be no reward at all. It could be that they are extremely influential people that are certainly able to make your life easier. They could be pirates, which means they won't attack you next time you come across them.

Any kind of mysterious space entity/alien ship where interaction can lead to a large variety of small occurences to large adventures.

For some reason the point defense laser / evasive countermeasures failed to activate and a asteroid slams throught the hull and fits tightly into the ship. Further investagation reveals the asteroid to be a construct that:
1. Has released a dangerous virus to people/foodsupplies/fuel onto the ship
2. Has released a saboteur/thief/spy onto the ship
3. For some reason contains precious metals.

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Quote:
Original post by Dunam
Mechanic
You encounter a mechanic that offers to make a modification to your ship for a price/ trade goods.


Hey, I like this one. What about setting it up this way: The mechanic always offers a repair that's cheaper than the closest repair shop. Your ship has to sit still for awhile (you do other stuff onboard or time-skip).

Variant 1: Time
The repair takes a few hours / days longer than promised

-or-

The repair takes a few hours / days less than promised

-or-

The repair is right on the dot


Variant 2: Effectiveness
The repairs fall x% short of promised improvements

-or-

The repairs lowered some other ship stat

-or-

The repairs increased stats as expected

-or-

The repairs increased stats way beyond what was expected


Variant 3: Hidden Challenges
The repairs have a hidden bug / loose screw, which will cause stats to drop or the parts to fail in x weeks, requiring further repairs

-or-

The mechanic was an agent of a faction. He/she placed a hidden block on the part that causes it to be shutdown when if you confront faction x

-or-

The repairs contain a hidden dangerous malfunction

-or-

The mechanic is an extortionist. The repairs contain a dangerous timed malfunction or bomb which will go off if you do not disable it or wire x thousand credits to a secure account

Quote:

Basically you could encounter many different kind of specialists that would be willing to do an odd job for a price. The question is whether you would trust them.... and whether trusting them is a smart choice.


Yes, this one has lots of potential, especially if the results can be expanded to include good and bad things. You could apply this to a specific system on the ship (shield mechanics, jump drive mechanics) and to other areas like black-market cyberneticists or AI installers.



Quote:

A derelict ship has lack of oxygen/fuel/food etc. They plead for the specific good they need to survive. There could be no immediate reward. There could be no reward at all. It could be that they are extremely influential people that are certainly able to make your life easier. They could be pirates, which means they won't attack you next time you come across them.


Nice. This could work very well. I also like the possibility that they're influential and you may meet them later. It would be REALLY cool if you save someone and they pull you out of the fire later in the game, helping you fight or creating a diversion or whatever. I also think that, depending on the area / culture, there should be a chance that they're scammers, secretly pirates who try to take over should you dock, people who pass disease, or refugees who need asylum.

A good variant would have an enemy of the week ship show up within a certain amount of time (known or unknown) before you transfer goods.

They could also need help with repairs, in which case you'd need to risk sending an away team. This could result in many different things: One of your team becomes attached to the people he/she's helping; some or all are taken hostage; the team discovers secret information while browsing the halls / talking to the crew; or something else (?)

Quote:

Any kind of mysterious space entity/alien ship where interaction can lead to a large variety of small occurences to large adventures.


Yes, here's where I'd like to create more specific detail. (I was going to post a separate thread on this, but this seemed to be either a boring topic or a bad time to post)

Quote:

For some reason the point defense laser / evasive countermeasures failed to activate and a asteroid slams throught the hull and fits tightly into the ship. Further investagation reveals the asteroid to be a construct that:
1. Has released a dangerous virus to people/foodsupplies/fuel onto the ship
2. Has released a saboteur/thief/spy onto the ship
3. For some reason contains precious metals.


Perfect! It could be an asteroid or pod, with a varying level of stealth so that you could actually have a chance of avoiding it.

Variants could be: One of your passengers / crew sabotaged things because he's/she's an agent or fanatic or was paid off; or this sort of thing is a tactic in this part of space.

Thanks, very inspiring!

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You stumble across a long forgotten about jail planet and the inhabitants will pay/provide services for transport else ware.

Sun dying/viral outbreak causes mass evacuation of planet/system and they don't have enough ships. Willing to pay for transport.

First contact with new alien maybe.

You find some planet drifting between starts that is the equivalents to our Atlantis, I.e. very notable historically and may contain hidden tech. Or the puppeteers from Larry Nivens Ring World series.

Corrupt military. You accidentally cross into restricted space and need to "barter" your way out of the situation.

You find a weird anomaly that kicks off some kind of new and/or valuable mineral. Suddenly land (well space) rights go through the roof.

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I see a lot of great ideas here. I don't know if any of you have played a game called Escape Velocity, developed by Ambrosia SW, but many of the ideas that you are talking about are implemented in this series. There are 3 games in the series, the first two being Mac only, but the third was ported to PC. They release it 30 day shareware, and is by far one of the best space exploration/trader games.

********
Gwyddion

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Quote:
Original post by gwyddion
I see a lot of great ideas here. I don't know if any of you have played a game called Escape Velocity, developed by Ambrosia SW, but many of the ideas that you are talking about are implemented in this series. There are 3 games in the series, the first two being Mac only, but the third was ported to PC. They release it 30 day shareware, and is by far one of the best space exploration/trader games.


Sorry I missed this post, but I just wanted to say that I'm an EV veteran going back to the first game (it made me hate Macs just a little less [smile])

What's great about this series is the idea that even though it is simple it shows that just changing the reason for doing the same thing makes a game feel slightly different. EV can only support a few basic actions (move to, dock with, destroy, trade... that's about it) but it can get you wrapped up in doing things to reveal the story. That's the same thing I'd like to have with events.

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Quote:
Original post by Kars
You stumble across a long forgotten about jail planet and the inhabitants will pay/provide services for transport else ware.

Sun dying/viral outbreak causes mass evacuation of planet/system and they don't have enough ships. Willing to pay for transport.

First contact with new alien maybe.

You find some planet drifting between starts that is the equivalents to our Atlantis, I.e. very notable historically and may contain hidden tech. Or the puppeteers from Larry Nivens Ring World series.

Corrupt military. You accidentally cross into restricted space and need to "barter" your way out of the situation.

You find a weird anomaly that kicks off some kind of new and/or valuable mineral. Suddenly land (well space) rights go through the roof.


Thanks for the reply, Kars. I missed it somehow. I like the situations. Any variants?

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