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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:

The Cepheus Engine character creation tables follow. Some tables include Rogue career data for comparison.

Medical Bills
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 Progression
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+
Re-enlistment 5+ 4+


Ranks and Skills
Career: Corporate Repo Rogue
0 Crew [Engineering-1] Independent [Streetwise-1]
1 Specialist Associate
2 Agent [Streetwise-1] Soldier [Gun Combat-1]
3 Lead Lieutenant
4 Manager Underboss
5 Director Consigliere
6 Executive Boss

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.

Mustering-Out Benefits
Career: Corporate Repo Rogue (for comparison)
1 Weapon Low Passage
2 Explorer’ Society +1 Int
3 Weapon Weapon
4 Mid Passage Mid Passage
5 High Passage Weapon
6 High Passage or Starship High Passage
7 +1 Soc +1 Soc
1 2000 1000
2 10000 5000
3 10000 5000
4 10000 5000
5 20000 10000
6 40000 20000
7 100000 50000

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
1 Type-S Scout
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)
Personal Development
1 +1 Str +1 Str
2 +1 Dex +1 Dex
3 +1 Edu +1 End
4 Melee Combat Melee Combat
5 Vehicle Bribery
6 Athletics Gambling
Service Skills
1 Streetwise Streetwise
2 Engineering Mechanics
3 Bribery Gun Combat
4 Liaison Melee Combat
5 Recon Recon
6 Mechanics Vehicle
Specialist Skills
1 Zero-G Computer
2 Comms Electronics
3 Admin Bribery
4 Tactics Broker
5 Leadership Recon
6 Jack o’ Trades Vehicle
Advanced Education
1 Computer Computer
2 Gravitics Gravitics
3 Piloting Jack o’ Trades
4 Navigation Medicine
5 Advocate Advocate
6 Electronics Tactics

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.

Roll 1D:
(1-2) roll on a list of phobias (e.g., from a Call of Cthulhu game),
(3) roll on a table of aliens,
(4) roll on a table of spaceship types,
(5) roll on a table of weapons or equipment,
(6) roll on a list of stellar or planetary types.

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 still there.

Roll 1D for details:
(1) one other person knows where it is,
(2) the whole crew knows where it is,
(3) It’s really owned by a criminal gang; they will be tipped off if it is moved or sold or something,
(4) same as 3 but it’s owned by a mega-corp or government,
(5) Something has changed, and it is about to lose its value,
(6) someone else has just found out about it.

Roll 1D for the cargo type:
(1) precious metals,
(2) artwork,
(3) (possibly illegal) drugs,
(4) data on a megacorp or politician,
(5) an alien or ancient artifact,
(6) information leading to something valuable

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 substantial favor.

The contact is (roll 1D):
(1) a cop,
(2-3) a crook,
(4) a port/government worker,
(5) a merchant or broker,
(6) a politician or important “fixer”.

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):
(1) forgot about you,
(2) still remembers you fondly,
(3) hates you,
(4) spouse hates you and is willing to do something violent about it,
(5) is now married to someone important and is willing to help you, or (6) is married to someone important who wants you off planet, soonest!

13 You picked up a local chronic/recurrent disease.

Roll 1D:
(1) Easy to treat, with very uncommon (hard to find) drugs.
(2) Poorly treatable with legal drugs, but a drug that is illegal on most planets is highly effective.
(3) Hard to treat.
(4) Easy to treat; strong physical side effects.
(5) Easy to treat; strong psychological/mental side effects.
(6) Treatment is very uncertain as to effectiveness and side effect(s).

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):
(1-2) the same class and same company,
(3-4) the same class built by the same shipyard,
(5) owned by the same company,
(6) any class, constructed at the same shipyard

16 While on a mission, you picked up a piece of body art.

For people who have spent time in this region, it identifies you as (roll 1D)
(1) a gang member,
(2) a member of a legal organization,
(3) a paramour of a specific (unidentifiable) person,
(4) a local ethnic minority,
(5) an indentured worker,
(6) An upper class or important person.

17 You are wanted Imperium-wide, and will have trouble with security everywhere.

The wanted notice is for (roll 1D)
(1-2) civil crimes that some places don’t care about,
(3-4) common criminal matters that everyone cares about, but not too much,
(5) criminal matters that most places care about a lot,
(6) intelligence or internal security such that regular police may not know about it at all, but the security services will deal with you harshly.

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):
(1) it was a famous, well known person.
(2) it was a big time crook.
(3) the person may have been killed with a dangerous (engineered?) virus.
(4) the police, or the family, have reopened the case, and are re-interviewing all involved.
(5) you are under surveillance, but you don’t know why,
(6) you or a team-mate starts having very vivid (psionically enhanced?) dreams.

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.

Ships Recovered

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.

Ship Recoveries
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 issue.

Managerial Issues
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.