Feature suggestion: dynasty-owned ships (in other words, split between owner and captain)
Here's the super duper short version: this is a suggestion for permitting a dynasty (or possibly a clan) to own a ship and to select people to captain it. First, a high level overview. Then, some possible uses of the system. After that, a TL;DR of the mechanics. Then, my recommendations for implementation. Finally, some concluding thoughts.
Does this sound like a good idea? Do the implementation details sound good? Please, discuss!
For various reasons, including defraying individual cost of owning ships like freighters and encouraging less experienced players to get involved in the space economy by giving access to ships they can't afford, I've been thinking it would be nice to let a dynasty (or clan?) own ships for use by select individuals within the dynasty. However, there are some potentials for abuse, which I will identify and for which I will offer methods of discouraging such abuse.
But before I dive into how I suggest implementing such a feature, here are some ideas for how players might enjoy using a split ownership-use ship system:
- Letting a new pilot fly a better interceptor or a corvette, as a perk of the dynasty.
- Sharing costs for a freighter that wouldn't be used much by only one person.
- Setting up a mortgage relationship, wherein the dynasty is the mortgage holder and the captain makes payments.
- Creating a dynasty floating home base of operations with lots of cool rooms and whatnot.
[Summary or TL;DR paragraph] This would be a distinction between ownership of the ship and permission to be its captain. The dynasty would pay ownership expenses, and the captain would pay operation expenses. More than one person could be a captain. (Cue village bicycle jokes.) Purchasing a ship from either the shipforge or brokerage would cost extra marks to prevent abuse.
To offset the benefits of defraying costs to individuals and to discourage potential shady transfers of wealth/second account problems, I recommend substantially increasing the marks cost to purchase a used ship. Flavor it as an additional brokerage transaction fee, a tax, or a licensing fee. The seller doesn't get the extra cost; it's a sink. Similarly, I recommend such a measure for commissioning the construction of a new ship.
Doing so might look like this:
- A new ship administrator role within the dynasty is introduced to permit to permit ship administrators to do ship-related actions, such as set captains for ships, build new ships, buy used ships from the brokerage, and customize ships in the chop shops or the shipforge. There can be more than one administrator. An administrator can be a captain.
- Each dynasty-owned ship is able to support one or more captains, chosen by someone in the ship administrator role. An example command might be: DYNASTY SHIP <Starskipper> CAPTAIN ADD <Steve>. And when Steve goes and get it blown up fifteen times, the administrator could DYNASTY SHIP <Starkipper> CAPTAIN REMOVE <Steve>. (I don't know what number to suggest for the maximum number of potential captains per ship. Maybe this is an opportunity for spending more marks or... dare I say, credits?)
- Ship purchase costs, from either the brokerage or the ship forge, are paid from a group's marks account. Only the administrator can purchase a used ship from the brokerage or commission a new ship from the ship forge. The purchase of a ship puts the ship into the ownership of the dynasty. It has only one captain by default, the administrator.
- Ship refit, customization, and SF costs are paid from the group account. Only the administrator can work on an existing dynasty ship, and must be set as a captain and be captaining the ship.
- Insurance costs are paid from the dynasty's account. This occurs automatically, much like it does now from an individual's marks account. Debt would be incurred if dynasty account is empty.
- Supply purchases are paid by the captain currently piloting the ship. No thank you to buying 999 EM batteries on the dynasty's dime and then dumping the for pickup. If it were otherwise, this would be a major loophole for second/alt abuse.
That's all I've got. I certainly don't think this is a must-have kind of feature, but it would make a lot of sense, and I think it would allow for an opportunity to lay groundwork for doing things like setting up ship mortgages in the future. (Wherein you can captain a ship, but somebody else owns it.) I don't much care for the idea of a faction owning ships, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on (and, sadly, don't have time to figure out today).
And while I'm writing about ships, I think it'd be a good idea to add an entry-level hauling ship as an alternative to a corvette. Just saying.