You play at flight, but your wings are clipped. You dream of freedom, but the reality of it terrifies you.
Nomads in the purest sense, the Privateers roam the galaxy in search of that which is unattainable. They are possessed by a natural wanderlust, questing ever outward from the sprawl of human civilization and striving to reach the end of a great journey whose beginnings have been lost in the mists of time. They seldom maintain solid interpersonal relationships outside of their crew and family, but are almost completely dependant on them. They are uncannily suited for survival in the emptiness between the stars; however, their adaptation to life in space has cost them the ability to live comfortably anywhere else. They are a sober, melancholy people, frail in form but unimaginably quick in mind. Their numbers have never been officially determined, as they tend to avoid agents of authority. Their ability to disappear, whether individually or in groups, is legendary; however, the loyalty they exhibit between they few friends they keep has earned them the distinction as the most trustworthy people in the galaxy.
Status Quo (5)
Privateers thrive on predictability. Within their nomadic lifestyle and their constant need to defend themselves against the harsh environment of space, they loathe the unexpected and the unexplained. Therefore it’s not surprising that early in their history, as their people fissioned into today’s Privateers and the ancestors of modern Fringers, they set out to innoculate themselves against the forces of disorder in their world. Specifically, measures they used to protect themselves from the ravages of life in space as well as from the alien virus responsible for the Fringer’s derangement have awakened a kind of anti-entropic force in Privateers. They do not experience the normal degredation seen in human bone and muscle tissue due to long-term exposure to low gravity. Also, they suffer no long term genetic damage from radiation exposure (though they are still succeptible to burns.) Most notably, they are almost completely immune to Entropic paranormal effects. Any Privateer who is either the target or even in the presence of such an effect automatically applies a 10 point penalty to the caster’s effort. This penalty to the caster is cumulative for each Privateer present, but can be waived if the Privateers know of and are in agreement with the intentions of the effect caster.
Privateers are also preternaturally at ease with the demands of life in space. They have a knack for getting around in microgravity, a sense for EVA and a good head about how to conserve resources in the hostile environment of space. They automatically receive a 5 point bonus to any space-living or space survival check (this acts like the spacefaring general skill at an advancement level of 5, or as a 5 point bonus to this general skill if the character has it already.) As they understand the mechanics of space travel, they receive a bonus of 5 point to any spacecraft navigation rolls. They can calculate transfer orbits in their head, and can intuit the mass of any object they can touch to within an tenth of a percent’s accuracy.
Privateers generally live their entire lives in deep space, and thus maintain an intimate survival relationship with their equipment. Most privateers become exceptionally aware of their surroundings and possessions, their vehicle, its operations and its maintenance. It takes a period of up to six months for a Privateer to become attuned to her vessel and its systems, but once this happens, that Privateer has an almost preternatural sense of how the ship is operating and how to maintain it and make small repairs. Privateers need no advanced skill in spacecraft maintenance to keep their ships running. The can intuit normal maintenance operations, and can conduct minor repairs proficiently.
Additionally, once a Privateer has become attuned her to vehicle and her day-to-day surroundings, she can navigate them with her eyes shut under just about any adverse conditions. She knows the ship’s systems and its capabilities as well as the knows herself. Thus, she will automatically receive a 5 point bonus to any maintenance or piloting check make with her own attuned vessel as the target. Furthermore, there will be no nook of her spacecraft she doesn’t understand. It’s virtually impossible to hide from a Privateer on her own ship, as she knows all the hiding places inside and out.
Sixth Sense (5)
Privateers have the ability to sense the onset of danger even without the slightest physical cue. This sense bleeds outward through space and time, contunually probing a radius of about ten light minutes around the Privateer like a superluminal radar, instantaneously reporting any event that might endanger the Privateer’s life or long-term well being. As sensitive and far reaching as this pseudo-precognisance is, it can tell nothing about the nature or even the timeframe of the dangerous event. It only alerts the Privateer to the fact that the danger is coming. There is no known way to short-circuit this ability. It manifests as a distinctive sense of anxiety that increases as the probability of the dangerous event increases. Though it may start as barely a twinge of apprehension, as the Privateer grows closer to the danger’s source, her apprehension will grow. In this way, she can use herself as a kind of Geiger counter, mapping out a field of probable death in her surroundings by wandering around and sensing. To do this is to tempt fate, though, and if there is one thing a Privateer knows best, it is that fate never passes up an opportunity.
With this ability during a campaign, the Moderator should give any Privateer character at least ten minutes advanced warning of any life-threatening event. You need not give any details, and keep in mind that the Privateer’s sense is keyed to the probability that her life may be in peril. If a major event happens in which the probability is slim to none that the Privateer or any of her loved ones should come under any mortal harm, the Privateer’s sense may not register. Likewise, Privateer characters should keep in mind that, unless their sense is tingling, they are not about to meet their end.
On the other hand, cockiness is ill-advised. If a Privateer brings about the circumstances of her own destruction, she may get significantly less advanced warning. This sense only registers as long as a threat is material and real. Developing threats do not trigger it unless the development is long term and inevitable. Thus, though the Privateer may get a warning that she is on a collision course with a distant micrometeor or that her sun is about to go supernova, if she pulls a gun on a rival her death is not imminent until her rival draws as well. This is where arises the Privateer adage about tempting fate. It’s better to let bad things come to you and have a chance of avoiding them, rather than charging head long into the jaws of your worst nightmare.
Though well suited to life in space, Privateers have paid a price for their adaptation. Though their bones and muscles do not atrophe in microgravity, they are relatively weak to begin with. Privateers suffer double the effects of g forces during hard accelerations and maneuvers, and may have a difficult time getting around under normal to greater-than-normal gravity fields. Privateers fair best in gravity fields of zero to 1/2 g’s. Higher field strength work against them, so that their own increased weight under these fields counts against their carrying capacity and may dog their agility and stamina. Under one, Earth-normal g, half of a Privateer’s body weight counts against her capacity to carry objects. Refer to the human species description for details on how this will affect your character.
Most Privateers keep a set of body braces and strength amplifiers around in case they need to work in high-gravity conditions. Such devices negate the adverse effects of high-gravity fields. These must be worn continuously, though, as long as the Privateer is under the high gravity for their benefits to be felt. As soon as the Privateer removes them, she will experience the crushing force of her environment again.
A strong Privateer presence exists nearly everywhere between the Elderworlds Alliance and the Fringe Worlds. Privateer groups provide the vital links between Elderworlds governmental bodies and their Periphery protectorate kingdoms. They also serve as the driving pioneer force extending the Frontier of the Terran Expansion. In all these regions, Privateers represent a potent social order to be reckoned with.
On Elderworlders: “You think you’re so much better than us — with all your toys and money — but ignorance is bliss. Sit high and mighty in your mansions getting fat and rich, while I — I will be great on merit.”
On New Icarians: “Step one foot over the line, Pretty Boy, and I’ll dump you out the air lock. You keep your Mind-Bending out of my head and I think we can reach a rather profitable compromise.”
On Fringers: “I look at you sometimes and think about how we came form the same place — how different are we really? If I go out to far … I shudder to think … will I become like you?”
On Amphioxi: “Have you no mind of your own, dear girl? He has no right to a servant as noble as you.”
On Phantoms: “Rumors, legends circulate about the murderers, assassins really, of the Elder Worlds Illuminati — Phantoms, genetically engineered killing machines. Call them What you will. Are they robots, ghosts, or maybe something else? Do they even exist? Most myths have at least some basis in reality.”