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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Topics - Rain

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Issue (as I see it anyway, YMMV and all that): shipping large quantities of restricted goods to pirates, pathers and black markets remains a quite easy and convenient way of making large amounts of credits.

The general suggestion/idea: Now, you wouldn't want to punish players who do this incidentally, or as a way to generate some quick cash to cover up some unexpected losses (or on hard mode maybe you would?), but systematically and regularly supplying pathers and pirates could have some consequences to it as per events. This sort of event should probably have a passive decrease over time as a baseline.

Simple design: A clever game designer might figure out a neat way of making it one tracker instead of two. You'd obviously want warning disclaimers whenever selling dangerous goods to dangerous people that it might have consequences if done in excess. Selling marines, supplies, fuel, armaments and AI cores or could increase progress. If you wanted to play it more hardcore, anything generating money for the factions might increase event progress. The straightforward way I can think of would be to track the base credit value of the goods, perhaps with a modifier for how desperate the faction buying is for them; if they're under-supplied both before and after player input the effect might be small. Either way the effects could be different for supplying Pathers to supplying pirates/black markets. Effects of various severities might include:
- More numerous, larger and higher-quality fleets for supplied factions, perhaps in two or three different severities.
- More frequent Pather sabotage events.
- More frequent pirate raids.
- Outright Pather fleet attacks upon worlds with heavy industries, large scale mining and fuel production.
- Sector-wide reductions in supply to fuel/supplies/other stolen/affected goods that's something the player can feel as security increases costs and Pather/pirate raids upon the production facilities become more frequent and effective.
- Raider communities a la Pather cells or Decivilized Subpopulations forming on the outskirts of affected worlds, favouring smaller (more space/easier to hide from local security), less stable and more valuable targets. Stations and larger worlds could spawn crime networks with similar effects, just re-flavoured to note they're hiding among the populace rather than out in the remote wilds.
- Just as covert trade doesn't alert the authorities, it wouldn't make the supplied faction thankful in the slightest and could start impacting Hostile Activity and generate all sorts of things as above for the player as well.
- Overt supply might make the recipient happy and divert the effects from the player, but have diplomatic repercussions with other major factions.
- A player well known as a trafficker in illegal goods might get more opportunities for smuggler-type missions from bars or be subject to more "random searches and scans" from patrols, perhaps even with a tailored bit of flavour text indicating they actually know they are unlikely to find anything and are just doing it because they want to make your life more miserable and expensive through destructive "searches".
- At a certain threshold the baseline monthly reduction in the event tracker might disappear, symbolizing pirates/pathers establishing more stable bases of operation and power.

Complex design: The exact goods or category of goods might be tracked in some way and impact the event progress and cause different effects upon the various thresholds depending on what, exactly, has been most supplied. Trading in drugs and domestic goods might have very limited effect. Shipping supplies, fuel and heavy machinery might make the effects more focused upon space. If you actually sell them a ship it could be remembered and turn up in a fleet later, irrespective of blueprints. Marines and heavy armaments could tilt the outcomes to be more planet-side effects. AI-cores... Well, Pathers might destroy them and thus cause them to have no effect at all, but who knows what reckless pirates might do given large supplies of AI cores? :) Such effects might range from occasional AI-controlled ships in pirate fleets as some fleet commanders effectively learn the Automated Ships tech skill, to full on [REDACTED] takeovers of a pirate nest, generating occasional [REDACTED] fleets menacing everything and everyone in the same system. As mentioned, a more hardcore approach might be that any and all money spent and generated in black market/Pather trade causes some progress as pirates/Pathers aren't likely to be any more helpful to the sector at large with cash than they would be with actual goods.

Counter-play/event-reducing actions: Again, a list of things that pop to mind and by no means potentially exhaustive.
- Destroying relevant bases in general, of course.
- Supplying affected worlds/systems with defense goods.
- Disruption raids upon military facilities on Pather/pirate worlds/stations. This sort of thing should probably have a cooldown timer for the market in question to prevent spam-raiding the same one.
- Destroying pirate/pather trade/smuggler fleets (insofar as they exist).
- Attacking "independent" smuggler fleets.
- Completing contact and bounty missions against pirate/Pather targets.

Possible issues: The general economy simulation is one I can't say I have a particularly strong grasp of myself, and any large scale effects upon it could have much more awkward consequences than I envision here. A clever player might hoard goods they know will become more scarce with event progress and make profits that way, though that just kind of puts us back at the start issue, albeit with some more intricate steps to get there. Perhaps we'd even consider it a feature to be able to make the sector a(n even) worse place for the sake of personal profit? It could serve to make Hostile Activity more annoying. It could make everyday travel and existence in the sector more annoying in some ways, with more frequent fleet attacks and higher upkeep costs in fuel and supplies, albeit as a direct consequence of aggressive player profiteering. Again, making sure the player is given some warning when selling goods in a way that'd push the event forwards, as well as cause antagonism from the other factions, would of course be a given.

I'm honestly not particularly creative in the end so I imagine others could poke holes/have more ideas for this kind of deal, but it struck me as potentially something of a fun general idea.

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After going through the initial conversation with the Excubitor Orbis my actual attempts to visit the shrine have been met with the error that:

"ERROR: no rule found for option lpp_hesperusVisitStart, adding a failsafe option to exit dialog. Note: this may break any mission interaction in the current dialog, it's recommended that you reload an earlier save if you use this option."

I managed to find the flag in the save file to reset the first dialog and have tried clicking through the various dialog options with mister Orbis with the same outcome.

I found I also get the same kind of error if instead of picking the "Wait, that's it?" or "Thank you..." options I try to just cut the comm link, with lpp_ExcubitorCutCommLink instead of the visit start line as above.

I wish I could be more helpful with the replication here, though the only thing I can think of that might have had some kind of impact is that at first I tried visiting Hesperus as the penultimate shrine before Gilead, then went to Gilead when I saw the error so that Hesperus is now the very last shrine.

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