This is the eighth in a series of anonymous reports that looks like it could go all the way to eleven — perhaps even twelve. These redacted versions were approved by the Senate for immediate publication, so they can be read by commanders of each respective race in order that they can review their own vulnerabilities in the face of the unknown external threat that commissioned the studies. In this dispatch we focus on that faction known as the Privateer Bands: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.
Ease Of Command: Expert
Difficulty To Defeat: Moderate to High
Style: Highly Aggressive / Swashbuckling
General: Often misunderstood, the Privateer Bands encompass all types in their armada, from genteel and honorable commerce raiders to the most dissolute pirates. Their common bond is a detestation of tyranny, and they use their fleet of small fast ships in precisely coordinated maneuvers to rob and capture their adversaries. They are one of the most feared and effective powers in the Echo Cluster.
Identification: If your flagship unexpectedly runs out of fuel in the middle of nowhere and your crew is talking about changing allegiance, you’ve probably just found your first Privateer. If you’re very lucky, they’ll let you join their crew; if not… well, you can always walk home.
Fleet Composition: Famed for having the weakest combat ship list in the Echo Cluster, the Privateers field a wide variety of light cloakers, including a few with the widely-coveted Gravitonic Accelerator technology. Their heaviest warship is the Bloodfang, a medium carrier with moderate combat effectiveness. Their most effective ships, however, are the ones with the largest fuel tanks.
Strengths And Weaknesses:
Economic: Since the Privateers, to be effective, require a huge number of ships in order to form effective wolfpacks, they will need multiple starbases capable of high-end engine production. This will require a large supply of Molybdenum, and early aggression — essential for success — must be carefully balanced against the economic requirements of thorough expansion.
Military: Their main weapon and primary defense is the Rob Ship mission, specifically combined with tow-capture. When faced with Loki-defended fleets, Privateers will often send in waves of suicide ships to eliminate the de-cloakers. Common variations to tow capture include: tow-mugging, tow-stranding, and the ever-popular tow-gang-rob.
Privateers also tune their beam weapons to maximize enemy crew-kill in order to improve their chances of capture. This can be extremely valuable when using enemy ships to do battle.
NOTE: The most advanced Privateer factions gain access to high-powered shock troops to aid in ground combat.
- Privateers lack any efficient method of defeating starbases in the end game unless they can capture a Super Star Destroyer or heavy carriers. 200/60 starbases, well-populated, are a reliable defense.
- Most early Privateer ships will have low-end beam weapons and light hulls, and therefore will be exceptionally vulnerable to space mines.
- The Federation, Lizards, Fascists, Crystals, and to a lesser degree Robots, Colonies, and Birds all have a degree of immunity to Privateer depredations. This makes for a truly challenging political dynamic.
Trade and Alliances:
- The Meteor Class Blockade Runner is a powerful logistics and support vessel thanks to its large cargo hold and fuel-efficient Gravitonic Accelerators. Any fleet can benefit from this, or to a lesser extent from other Gravitonic ships.
- Other light cloaking ships are also available for trade, though this is often overlooked by those wanting only the best vessels.
What the Privateer fleet lacks in power and variety, it tends to make up for in capture. However, Privateers tend to end up sandwiched between major powers with access to inexpensive anti-cloaking defenses — if they’re lucky, because they devoured the weaker ones first — and the wise commander will be only too eager to make a deal to overcome this.
The Privateer Bands are often underrated, and when poorly led or unlucky in position can live down to the lowest expectation. However, when well-commanded, they are a highly potent threat that rightly brings terror to even the stoutest heart.
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