ORIGINAL: Bebop Cola
Pirates, Corruption, and Criminal Syndicates:
1. Criminal Syndicates as a component or companion to piracy. High-corruption or high discontentment on a colony should influence the creation of a criminal syndicate that either acts as an invisible corruption engine to slowly increase corruption, or that begins to funnel larger and larger sums of an empire's income to local pirates. Pirates, of course, use these credits to build more, and more powerful, ships. Criminal syndicates infiltrate nearby mining bases, and can spread to other bases using independent and infiltrated private sector freighters. These bases/ships must be destroyed to eliminate the syndicate, and are slowly revealed by an empire's spies set to counter-intelligence. Syndicate mining bases still produce for the parent empire, though at a reduced rate. This would encourage wealthy empires capable of ignoring revenue losses from corruption to pay attention to the corruption of far-flung colonies.
- Syndicates have a diplomatic component, and Syndicates can be contacted/allied with at risk of exposing your own empire to them. Contact with Syndicates can grant the usual discovery purchases, "black market" strategic and luxury resource purchases, and the ability to purchase diplomatic contact with foreign empires the Syndicate has infiltrated as well as pirate factions. Alliances with Syndicates grant both trade revenue and a reduction in the mining penalty at any of your mines that they have infiltrated, but greatly increases the likelihood that your empire's private sector will be taken over by the syndicate. Ships and mines infiltrated by allied syndicates are designated by a tiny colored icon next to the ship/base name. Syndicates do not forward contacts for other Syndicates as this would be helping the "competition," and rival Syndicate freighters will fire on one another if the freighters have weapons.
2. It has been suggested before, I think, but piracy should have a connection to empire corruption. By that I mean local corruption should influence the likelihood of a pirate base spawning in the vicinity. While overall corruption on a given colony might be fairly low, if the population is sufficiently large there would presumably be plenty of individuals willing and interested in engaging in piracy. This would encourage wealthy empires capable of ignoring revenue losses from corruption to pay attention to the corruption of far-flung colonies.
3. Pirates spawned near a given empire should either be made up of that empire's race, or of only the closest neighboring empires(including independent worlds). If the only Teekan worlds are on the other side of the galaxy, a Teekan pirate faction should not spawn near you. The race of the pirates should have a diplomatic impact on other empires. If the Securans are being raided by human pirates, the Securans should note this and suffer a mild diplomatic penalty towards human empires. A positive gain can be obtained by human empires by taking out those pirates. In this way, pirate alliances can better be used to frame other empires or influence diplomatic relationships.
4. When engaged in a pirate alliance, one should be able to direct their attacks. Rather than pirates engaging whatever targets they decide you hate, you should be able to point them at a specific empire in their area. They would, of course, still engage independent targets as normal, and would still defend themselves form other empires, but they would focus their efforts on the empire you designate. Exercising this option would incur a premium charge determined by the strength of the target empire, preferably as an increase of the monthly fee for the alliance. Perhaps multiple empires could be specified, with commensurate fee increases for each one.
LOVE these ideas regarding criminal syndicates and pirates. Pure awesome. Bump Bump Bump.
Add in a new class of black market resources that are smuggled by syndicates and pirates....with players able to aid this or fight it depending on their strategy or desires....pure heaven.