The Corporate Repo Career
This was the featured article in the September/October 2017 issue.
Corporate Repo: Individual involved in the corporate repossession of spaceships, legally owned by large corporations, that have been seized by governments or organizations on shaky legal grounds.
This article presents the Corporate Repo career in the same format as other careers in the Cepheus Engine rules. It can easily be converted to other Traveller rules which use a career system.
“The Corporate Repo Campaign” (Freelance Traveller, May/June 2017, p. 32) describes campaigns for these characters. They usually work as a team to recover starships which have been seized by governments or criminal organizations, often through legal manipulations or outright fraud which would never be allowed in more civilized parts of the Imperium.
Repo teams have the skills to operate large starships, but they also have the skills to separate them from their current, illegitimate owners. These skills include “white collar” type criminal skills, legal and political manipulation skills, breaking and entering, and even some straight up violence skills.
In most of the Imperium, a Repo agent bears the same relationship to a rogue that privateers bear to pirates—there’s a lot of commonality in their actions, but the Repo agent operates with the permission and backing of a larger entity with legal status.
I generally start by thinking about what kind of repo agent this character will be. What skills will he/she bring to the team trying to liberate a ship? This step is not part of the chargen mechanics, but it is part of imagining the character you want. I think of six basic areas:
- Fraud, Cons, and Flim Flams
- Breaking and Entering (Includes physical and electronic techniques, and hacking.)
- Disguise and Impersonation
- Violence (Simple thuggery, armed criminals, demolitions, and ex-military types.)
- Forgery and Fakes (Research to select original and skills to make fakes, including paperwork, computer records, or physical objects.)
- General (Team leaders, lawyers, political animals, rabble rousers, stakeout specialists, and people who work with the local crooks.)
The Cepheus Engine character creation
tables follow. Some tables include Rogue career data for comparison.
|Career||Roll + Rank:||4+||8+||12+|
|Most Corporate Repos (megacorp or similar)||50%||75%||100%|
|A Few Corporate Repos (self-employed or disreputable company)||0%||50%||75%|
|Add Rank to roll for portion paid by employer.|
|Career:||Corporate Repo||Rogue (for comparison)|
|Qualification||Int 5+||Dex 5+|
|Survival||Int 4+||Dex 4+|
|Commission||Soc 7+||Str 6+|
|Advancement||Int 6+||Int 7+|
|Ranks and Skills|
|0||Crew [Engineering-1]||Independent [Streetwise-1]|
|2||Agent [Streetwise-1]||Soldier [Gun Combat-1]|
Engineering is the basic skill for rank-0 corporate repo characters, because they are often moving large ships, which require a lot of engineers. Therefore, the entire team should be able to pitch in and help in Engineering.
Streetwise is the basic skill for rank-2 characters, because it helps with a wide range of vessel recovery techniques.
The referee should, as usual, feel free to modify the tables to fit
the campaign—for example, rank-4 characters might get an automatic skill
of Admin-1 or Advocate-1.
|Career:||Corporate Repo||Rogue (for comparison)|
|2||Explorer’ Society||+1 Int|
|4||Mid Passage||Mid Passage|
|6||High Passage or Starship||High Passage|
|7||+1 Soc||+1 Soc|
Note on High Passage or Starship benefit: If you run a “ship poor” universe, then this should be a high passage, but if you run a universe where many characters have spaceships, then this is the way to get a Corporate Repo character a ship. Another option is to have the ship owned jointly by the character’s old repo team. This is similar to owning shares in a ship, but a little more personal and hands-on.
Usually, a starship benefit means that the character knows about a “misplaced” spaceship. Perhaps, it was a ship used as cover, and which had to be abandoned; maybe it was cargo on a larger ship repossessed 20 years ago; or an auxiliary ship on a repossessed ship, etc.
In this case, the referee should decide if the character owns title “free and clear” or if they merely have physical possession of it. If the character officially owns the ship, he or she can sell it for cash. Otherwise, the character can use the ship (or let others use it), but not sell it outright, at least not legally in the Imperium. If the character does not have “free and clear” ownership, then any interaction with the authorities could lead to the ship being impounded.
Alternatively, the corporation for which the repo has worked may give
the repo an old ship either as a severance benefit, or as prepayment for
calling the repo back into service as needed. This is similar to the
ship benefit that retired scouts sometimes get. These ships could be
anything, but are usually small.
|Starship Type for Starship Benefit|
|1D||Type of Ship|
|2||Modified Type-S (Seeker, etc.)|
|3||Type-A or variant (A2, A3, etc.)|
|4||Type Y or variant (Y2, Y3, etc.)|
|5||Type R or variant (R2, R3, etc.)|
|6||“Oddball” (Type L Lab, Type I/J Intruder, Repair Tug (see Freelance Traveller, July/Aug. 2017, p.46), Military/Mercenary/Corsair ship, non-jump vessel, etc.)|
|Career Skill Tables|
|Career||Corporate Repo Agent||Rogue (for comparison)|
|1||+1 Str||+1 Str|
|2||+1 Dex||+1 Dex|
|3||+1 Edu||+1 End|
|4||Melee Combat||Melee Combat|
|6||Jack o’ Trades||Vehicle|
|3||Piloting||Jack o’ Trades|
Adding Depth to a Repo Character
If the referee approves it, characters may roll on the following
tables, adding that piece of history to their character. The referee
should decide how often each character rolls. For quick characters,
maybe just once during their first term (this kind of stuff tends to
happen when a character is young), or once or twice per term, to add
more depth to their character’s development.
|Corporate Repo Events|
|3D6||Event (Note that in many cases, you will need to roll another d6, or two, to get all the details.)|
|3||A high-quality false identity created for you for an operation was never deactivated, so you still have it (and can use it without their knowing).|
|4||While recovering a ship, had an encounter so
scary that you developed a phobia.
|5||You found a particularly valuable, and
relatively small/portable cargo in a ship that you were
recovering. You were able to hide the cargo before returning the
ship to its corporate owner. As far as you know, the cargo is
1D for details:
Roll 1D for the
|6||A corporation (or high level person employed by one) owes you a substantial favor.|
|7||You were “chipped” by a local government or criminal organization. This chip shows up on body scans. Some scanners will only show the chip, others will show your identity and the reason for “chipping”. Some planets chip everyone, others only chip criminals, and others chip people for different reasons (and the security guys who find the chip may think it’s only criminals who are chipped, or only corporate workers, etc, depending on their knowledge of chipping).|
|8||Made a local contact who still owes you a
The contact is (roll 1D):
|9||You learned something interesting/useful about one particular class of starship or equipment.|
|10||You are persona non grata on at least one planet, and might have a local arrest warrant.|
|11||A local crook or corrupt government official really hates you, and now he or she has gotten a higher level job, and is (unexpectedly) now working on the subsector or even sector level, so it is harder for you to avoid him or her.|
|12||While on a long-term mission, you started
dating a local.
When the mission ended, he or she (roll 1D):
|13||You picked up a local chronic/recurrent
|14||You were involved in a major vessel recovery that caused local laws or operational rules to be changed; the new laws/procedures are named after you. You are famous (at least locally).|
|15||For one of your jobs, your company gave you a
specialized tool or piece of software designed to circumvent the
locking mechanism for the ship you were recovering.
Works on the any ship that is (roll 1D):
|16||While on a mission, you picked up a piece of
people who have spent time in this region, it identifies you as
|17||You are wanted Imperium-wide, and will have
trouble with security everywhere.
The wanted notice is for (roll 1D)
|18||You found a dead body well-hidden on a ship you
are recover. Not knowing anything about it, your team decided to
avoid issues by getting rid of it covertly.
But now, years later, it seems that (roll 1D):
As an alternate rule, the referee may allow players to select results, or the referee and player can work together to select results, rather than roll randomly. This can lead to a more interesting and coherent lifepath, and can apply to just the tables in this section or to the entire chargen process.
The following section can be used to fill in a corporate repo character’s “resume”, if desired. For lower ranked repos, this resume is basically a list of ships and the situation from which they were liberated. For higher ranking repos, this resume also includes various managerial tasks.
While ranks 0-2 a corporate repo will recover 2d6 / 2 (rounded up) ships per term. If rank 3 or 4, they will oversee or supervise that many repo operations, and also deal with 1d6 external managerial emergencies. And if they are rank 5 or 6, the will supervise that many repo operations, deal with 1d6 external issues, and 1d6 internal issues.
If details matter, for each ship recovered, roll once for each column
on the following table to fill in the details of the repo operation.
|D6||Starship Type||Why/How It Was Seized||How It Was Recovered|
|1||Large Cargo Ship||Failure to pay corrupt government fees.||A con.|
|2||Large Cargo Ship||Stolen using legal manipulations (like bankruptcy)||Hacking, breaking and entering, lock picking, etc.|
|3||Huge Cargo Ship||Forged paperwork.||Forged paperwork.|
|4||Bulk Transport||Corrupt shipyard, “mechanic’s lien” or similar.||Speed and stealth.|
|5||Passenger Ship||Act of local (planetary) government, change of rules, etc.||Legal manipulations.|
|6||Something Unusual: Lab Ship, Speeder, Yacht, Courier, Small Military, Commercial Survey, etc.||Violence or threat of violence.||Violence or threat of violence.|
If details about the character’s career as a corporate repo
manager/executive matter, then roll on the following table, once per
|D6||Internal Issue||External Issue|
|1||The corp attempts to outsource corporate repo work, or some other tasks that you are responsible for.||Political or legal problems stemming from a repo. The repo might have been successful or not, and the problems might be real or falsified.|
|2||Another part of the company wants to control your area. You might fight them off.||Political or legal problems stemming from a repo. The repo might have been successful or not, and the problems might be real or falsified.|
|3||You try to expand your organization buy absorbing functions currently done by others.||Resolved a political or legal problem which will impact future repos, unless resolved now.|
|4||Reorg brings a new manager, which means you spend a lot of time figuring out what the new manager wants.||Resolved a political or legal problem which will impact future repos, unless resolved now.|
|5||The corporation faces a major threat to its business, and you are put on the team that must combat this threat.||Problem unrelated to recovering ships, but that you been asked to help with.|
|6||Company goes out of business or is bought by another. You spend a lot of time reestablishing your credentials with whoever is now in command.||Problems with compliance or paper work, or proving that you have obeyed the law.|