Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Price of Free Trade

Pushing out past the frontier into alien worlds to make a profit by trade. What could go wrong?!

11] A native herb or food is a strong narcotic to your species.

12] A Terran herb or food is a strong narcotic to the locals. You did test for that right?

13] The locals want something that you have not packed in large quantities and only have personal stores of. Their Emperor is mad for chewing gun for example or hand sanitizer is a potent potable to the locals.

14] The locals have found a wrecked starship and want your help in salvaging it. Only the ship belongs to a pirate clan that shows up to reclaim the wreck's treasures.

15] The locals want your weaponry or a reasonable facsimile. They will pay a lot.

16] The locals want your weapons and will pay a lot or get them other ways.

21] Something about humans: voice, smell, appearance is anathema to the locals requiring disguises, perfume or similar measures to be taken.

22] The locals are involved in a prolonged fight with other locals and are ready to pay for your help. Are you interested in blood diamonds?

23] Other traders or members of a megacorporation arrive to make life difficult. They might pay you a pittance to scram, sabotage your operation or lay a beat down on your personnel.

24] Payment for your current contract is delayed due to cash flow problems of the recipients. They offer instead to reimburse you in their product: livestock.

25] A local pest that is not harmful to the locals and not really thought of much at all causes anaphylactic shock in one out of three humans. Whoops.

26] A wrecked ship holds the trade contract to a mother lode of marketing. Only the coordinates were lost in the wrecked navigation computer. You have to get the coordinates without tipping off the competition, from a Patrol or Survey base.

31] A passenger turns out to be a professional and fairly high stakes card player. At your next port of call he wishes to hire your ship for a high stakes poker game, lifting the ship into orbit where antigambling laws do not apply. Easy money, what could go wrong?

32] A stowaway! Need I say more?

33] Okay a stowaway who's a(n) outlaw/mental patient/highly skilled drifter/exiled royalty/hit man who is on the run/pet of a Big Glowing Head/bizarre alien (pick one of the other tropes).

34] Someone hid contraband on your ship or in your cargo. What was the law level of your next stop?

35] One of your crewmen broke a local taboo (he didn't like bacon or stared at the dowager queen's pet fufu too long) and trade negotiations will be ended unless you can do some damage control (and not the easy kind like in space).

36] The Patrol wants to use your ship in as bait in a sting operation. It will make the Patrol owe you a big favor. I think I'm opening a store selling WCGW bracelets.

41] A local official wants some personal (ahuh) attention from a crew member. If the favors are not cheerfully rendered he will squash your trade efforts.

42] Officials need to be bribed.

43] Officials need to be wined and dined. How good is your Steward?

44] Officials need to be shot. See number 41 above.

45] Your buyer was shunned by his community and left it for a few weeks until his punishment is lifted. Unfortunately you have a cargo for him that just can't wait. You need to go into the mountains to track him down.

46] Your engine broke down and needs a part. Let's ... get ... Ready! To! Haggle!

51] There's a pirate base. There's always a pirate base. Why do pirates even base on inhabited worlds? If they must be near the thrills of the starport commercial district why then do they still have to be anywhere near the port or on the same continent? Inevitably, you stumble across a pirate base.

52] Posted! In a hilarious case of mistaken identity the Patrol thinks you're a bunch of outlaws. This is not much of a stretch for most player characters anyway.

53] Emergency! The low tech locals have an emergency (storm/earthquake/mole stampede) and need your ship to perform a daring rescue. This could have a good effect on trade negotiations if you don't screw it up. For extra points realize the locals are doing this as a test of character.

54] One of the crew discovers a local group that shares his hobby, whatever that is. They might be crooks trying to get close to your ship for nefarious reasons or ... a bunch hobbyists. If everything is bad news you'll wind up with a bunch of paranoid player characters.

55] Local misunderstanding. How were you supposed to know that was the local governor's spouse/daughter/son/pet?

56] Fuel Shortage: you can save some needed credits by refueling for free at a local gas giant. Check my earlier post for everything that could go wrong. Suffice to say: pirates, hostile life forms, trigger happy Patrol forces all set up in 5000 kph hurricanes and megalightning strikes.

61] A crewman from another ship arrives at your airlock begging for sanctuary. Do you turn him in?

62] A number of moves in trade negotiations are lost to a rival who seems to have inside knowledge of your offers. Is it psionics, a spy, a bug, a little (uplifted) bird.

63] A passenger claims your ship is haunted.

64] Your ship is pressed into service by a local luxury cruise line. All the amenities are upgraded but can your tyros put up with a bunch of spoiled rich passengers?

65] As above but your spoiled passengers want to go on safari and need someone to carry their guns.

66] A local group of honorable businessmen are impressed with your honesty and integrity and would like you to do them the favor of holding some 10 Mcr. until ... things quiet down. Most local people would do this favor without even thinking of running off with the money.