1001 ways for a party to start their adventures with a ship they can't sell


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Holy moly it took 56 entries to get to what i thought was the most obvious answer also the answer im using


DEGLIS wrote:
17.) The ship has a rat problem that not even the bravest of adventurers can solve. The rats are actually not particularly cumbersome as they mind their own business and don't steal much food.

All I can think of is Ysoki when reading #17 :)

59) The campaign turns into the story of the characters trying to sell the ship for the best price. They have to travel between systems to overcome these, recurring, obstacles:

- Taxation (government or crime lord would take such a huge cut that selling the ship wouldn't be worth it)
- Theft (the transaction turns out to be criminals attempting to steal ship)
- Illegal (ship was already stolen and the players are the new suspects, selling starships is so regulated that it's not worth the paperwork, or a permit/deed is required for sale)
- Not compatible (ship uses technology that isn't safe for the area they find themselves in; gas clouds, toxic atmosphere, etc., or the interested species don't like the way the cockpit feels)
- Stranded (maybe they do sell it off, but then find that nobody wants to fly them to their desired destination either due to politics, xenophobia, or maybe they just don't like the party)

60) It turns out to be cheaper to own a ship, rather than paying costs for interstellar travel on a space ferry service. Just like plane tickets aren't cheap IRL


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61) The ship has multiple rooms full of junk and debris, including areas where major power conduits run. Selling a ship where it is impossible to check even the main power relays is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and wouldn't get you very much.

This would also allow the players to use down time to clean out the rooms, which could be used to upgrade the ship, and the random debris could include upgrades and items (apparently someone was trafficking weapons through this room... some of them would work with a little bit of TLC!)

Scarab Sages

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Sparowl wrote:

61) The ship has multiple rooms full of junk and debris, including areas where major power conduits run. Selling a ship where it is impossible to check even the main power relays is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and wouldn't get you very much.

This would also allow the players to use down time to clean out the rooms, which could be used to upgrade the ship, and the random debris could include upgrades and items (apparently someone was trafficking weapons through this room... some of them would work with a little bit of TLC!)

I actually had a similar idea to justify ship upgrades, but from the other angle, which leads me to:

62) PCs manages to steal a highly experimental prototype ship that hasn't even had a shakedown cruise yet. The power system isn't operating at near peak efficiency, the weapons barely function, and the power output for the shields is almost nil. No one is willing to buy it in its current state (especially given that it's stolen), but as the PCs work on it they can 'upgrade' the ship by fixing bits of it and working out the bugs.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sparowl wrote:

61) The ship has multiple rooms full of junk and debris, including areas where major power conduits run. Selling a ship where it is impossible to check even the main power relays is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and wouldn't get you very much.

This would also allow the players to use down time to clean out the rooms, which could be used to upgrade the ship, and the random debris could include upgrades and items (apparently someone was trafficking weapons through this room... some of them would work with a little bit of TLC!)

Heh, this sounds like maintaining the Avenger in XCOM 2.


I'll just remind the PCs that this is the only ride they have. The equivalent of the old minivan or crappy hatchback that your parents let you have. But its yours, and you can't afford better until you work for it. Nobody is going to give you hand up, nobody is going to be moneybags and give you a free ride into the big leagues.

That or I'll just say its like a Firefly class freighter. Old, reliable, respected by the people that matter, but impossible to sell because the market is full of newer models. Ones that you can't afford.


First World Bard wrote:


Heh, this sounds like maintaining the Avenger in XCOM 2.

No idea what you are talking about.

(Stupid plasma weapons need to upgrade faster so I can kill the Chosen.)

No idea. Whatsoever.

Shadow Lodge

(If Notabot was # 63)

64) Your current PCs being the children of your previous PCs, this was their first spaceship, the catalyst of many a fond memory. It would break their 16th-level hearts if they found out you sold it, so it's important to raise a new generation and hand it off to them once you've finished saving the known universe.


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65) Your ship doubles as a brothel, and the workers like you.


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66) Spare parts to your ship are hard to buy.Not really expensive, but really hard to buy. So hard, you must go through entire campaign to get them.

67) Your PCs share ownership with former group member who doesn't want to sell the ship just because of petty revenge on his former colleagues.

68) Every other owner of this ship died some horrible death, and people believe it is cursed.

Dark Archive

69) Your characters have known each other for several years and worked in the scungiest (new word) jobs on the station (cleaning the Shirren toilets, being the customer service rep to the Vesk, maintenance at the Ysoki quarter, etc.), each saving and scrimping to buy parts for a starship. The players get to design a level 1 starship with level 1 components, but GM sets the credit ceiling on all expenditures. And of course all the components are used or refurbished, so basically they have a clunker made of hodge podge components and maybe an A.I. computer that isn't quite normal (I will allow you biologicals to operate my systems, but only if you read me a bedtime story!).


Android Operative 7 wrote:
69) Your characters have known each other for several years and worked in the scungiest (new word) jobs on the station (cleaning the Shirren toilets, being the customer service rep to the Vesk, maintenance at the Ysoki quarter, etc.), each saving and scrimping to buy parts for a starship. The players get to design a level 1 starship with level 1 components, but GM sets the credit ceiling on all expenditures. And of course all the components are used or refurbished, so basically they have a clunker made of hodge podge components and maybe an A.I. computer that isn't quite normal (I will allow you biologicals to operate my systems, but only if you read me a bedtime story!).

*chuckling*

There's a lot of fun to be had with the AI needing bedtime stories. ^_^

Silver Crusade

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70) Two words: skittermander infestation!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
70) Two words: skittermander infestation!

"I can't sell this ship! Where would all these little guys go?"

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

71) Despite its thick hull, the ship is, for reasons lost to the gap, shaped and painted like a gigantic carrot. Nobody wants to buy something that looks that ridiculous.


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72) Your starting ship works by some combination of moonlace and fairy dust. That's the only explanation engineers have for why it's still running and mostly keeping up. By all rights it shouldn't be in a museum, it should be a scrap heap. The onboard AI is buggy and speaks in Fran Drescher's voice when it's not quoting old trivids that were considered hammy and dated when the ship was built, the crew quarters list to one side, the on-board grav shuts off or jumps in intensity more or less at random, the upholstery on the gunner's station are starting to fall apart, the pilot's seat is just gone and someone replaced it with a barstool locked to the deck with epoxy, and while the engines will get you where you're going they'll rattle and shake so loudly the engineer has had to replace their eardrums with prosthetics just so they can carry on a normal conversation outside of the engine room, and has also taken up religion as the only possible reason they're still alive. In short, this is a hunk of junk Mal Reynolds would be embarrassed to be seen near, nevermind fly in, and nobody will buy it.

73) You crew a ship that your party is allowed to operate for publicity, but it's a historical artifact owned by AbadarCorp or a holy relic of the Iomedean Church. When the time comes, your party will be paid for their service and the owner will take back possession of the ship, but it isn't yours, and is too high profile for you to sell even if you were inclined to do so.


74) Whenever they try to sell it, during the inspection a black light is used, and it lights up like a J'axon Pu'lak.

75) ..... the ship has space herpes.


on a serious note tho...

76) The ship is of an ancient make/model and the computer system only recognizes genetic relatives of the original race as potential crew due to the original builders xenophobic lifestyle. The PCs, for whatever reason, have faint traces of genetic code that the ships biometric lockouts considers valid. This renders the ship useless to anyone they try to sell it to, because... wouldnt you know it... the would-be buyer lacks the genetic coding, and refuses to buy a ship that they cant reliably re-sell.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

77) The ship was cursed by a space-leprechaun, and appears back in your pocket with the next sunrise. Coincidentally, you're running out of comfy space suits.

78) It has the returning property.

79) It has the unremovable stench from that one Seinfeld episode.

80) Upon anyone signing a contract for its sale, it immediately collapses into its component parts. Upon the contract's destruction, the ship spontaneously and reassembles to whatever state it was in before the contract.

81) Any time the PC's try to sell it they all experience a localized mini-Gap. Everyone forgets the attempted sale, and find themselves doing their regular thing a few hundred light years–still near space–from the place in which they tried to sell it.


Patrick Newcarry wrote:
Descrud wrote:
The ship is possessed by an AI ghost, develops affection for the player characters, and refuses to work for anyone else.
Epic. Sheer epic.

"What are you doing, Dave?"


82) The Ships AI is fully serviceable, but SUPER annoying. The PC's can learn to deal with it, but withing 5 seconds of interaction with the AI nobody else is going to want to.


83) Oh, You need a ship? Well, I just happened to have one. Just sign here and it's all yours.


84) They're not the captain, but they work for him.

"We work for the highest bidder"
"I have a ship."
"Congratulations. You're the highest bidder"

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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85) The ship is essentially stolen (see Farscape, et al.) No one cares when you're just buying supplies or getting docking permissions, but you can't run a title history.


86) Mildly radioactive, it will take 4.5 years for it to reach its half life. Strange little alien put down some spell work to protect your crew.

87) Demo ship to display cutting edge technology. Part metal, part organic and part magic. No service support and only a handful of people understand how it works.

88) Shirren ship that has odd growths popping up all over. Your crew is constantly having to lance them. No other Shirren ship will dock next to you for fear of catching a Ship Transmitted Disease.

Dark Archive

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89) The ship is actually a form of cursed artifact. While it potentially has incredible powers, said powers will not make themselves apparent to the crew until they have attained sufficient knowledge (levels). In the meantime the ship is bound to the life force of the crew and cannot be sold.

90) The ship is well known for having belonged to a notorious person. And the fear that they will one day come to painfully reclaim it stops anyone else from buying it.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

91) The party has a silent partner, who endorses their endeavors by covering the costs of their ship. In return, a sizable fraction of the party's profitable returns are given to said silent partner to cover the investment.

(This is all handled as background flavor of course, with the transactions not actually impacting party treasure or the like. The partner is unwilling to alter the terms of the deal.)


Arutema wrote:
71) Despite its thick hull, the ship is, for reasons lost to the gap, shaped and painted like a gigantic carrot. Nobody wants to buy something that looks that ridiculous.

Sounds like a collector's item for me!


91) The ship has a Tribble infestation, you kill one, find ten more 5 minuets later. While Tribbles are harmless, nobody wants to buy a ship infested with the things.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

92) The ship is a bioship with a mind and personality. You can't sell it unless it wants to be sold, and it doesn't want to be sold.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Tell the players you'd like to run an adventure with the ship they start with.

Scarab Sages

Kalifiir Sabra wrote:
Tell the players you'd like to run an adventure with the ship they start with.

Lol! You think players will do what you ask them to!


VampByDay wrote:
Kalifiir Sabra wrote:
Tell the players you'd like to run an adventure with the ship they start with.
Lol! You think players will do what you ask them to!

Threaten them with stop GMing if they don't. Might not work in groups with several GMs, but in mine, currently, it's a convincing argument.


93.) When the PCs try to sell the ship, they hear this.

The Exchange

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94) the ship has only hatched in the last few weeks, and the characters are the first creatures it sees. As such it imprints on them and follows them around...everywhere. If they leave it for too long, it pines for them and wails at a subsonic pitch, sickening everyone.

Dark Archive

95) The ship is inhabited by the spirits of six incredibly talented British comedians. Because they are so good, the players never want to part with the ship called:The Flying Circus.

The best part is having your players recite The Dead Parrot Sketch filling it in with various races (That Shirren is stone dead! E's pinin' for the swarm!).


96) The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy(tm) is still that, a hunk of junk only held together by the careful ministrations of the idiot savant also known as your engineer and his/her reckless and stupid cunning and brave ragtag bunch of misfits band of friends.
The ship has been repaired so often over and over with all kinds more and often less compatible parts/technologies that only these people are even able of using it, nevermind performing any kind of quality maintenance.


97) The ship is precursor tech that the party has been genetically altered to know how to fly, anybody else that could fly it already has one. To make matters worse, the controls are so different the party no longer remembers how to fly modern ships.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

98) The ship is technically on loan from a wealthy patron who owes you a favor.

Grand Lodge

99) The ship has unique properties or components that are vital to the PCs' mission, so they can't reasonably do without it or replace it. For example, it has an experimental warp drive or is magically protected against powerful storms.

100) The PCs don't know where they're going - the ship does, because it's alive or otherwise tied to their destination. They have no way to communicate with it and extract that information.

Grand Lodge

101) For some reason, ships are much less expensive in this setting, so selling the ship wouldn't provide much money. For example, magical tools exist that greatly simplify ship construction and repair. Or some recent event has caused a crash in the sailing market (e.g., large sea monsters have suddenly started appearing and no one knows why), leaving a glut of inexpensive boats waiting to be sold.


Starship munching space krakens able to call upon solar flares'd be a pretty good market crash for older model hulls that aren't up to snuff. ;)

Dark Archive

102) The ship seems great on the outside, but on the inside it's been put back together by a Vesk engineer. This means that the group gets a free Vesk engineer,but as it's a Vesk he tends to swat ship vermin with his reaction cannon (you know, the ones that ignore hardness? ). So he's constantly damaging and patching the ship up.

Dark Archive

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103) The ship was originally part of a fantasy themed park ride. It's decorated in bright fantasy motifs and the furnishing is a cheap imitation of the fantasy setting it was part of. Also the ship's AI refers to itself as "Dungeonmaster" and calls PCs by class titles. "Ranger! Your quest is to motivate the the Magician into repairing the port side ballista launcher! Rogue, there is a dragon on the horizon!"


Android Operative 7 wrote:
103) The ship was originally part of a fantasy themed park ride. It's decorated in bright fantasy motifs and the furnishing is a cheap imitation of the fantasy setting it was part of. Also the ship's AI refers to itself as "Dungeonmaster" and calls PCs by class titles. "Ranger! Your quest is to motivate the the Magician into repairing the port side ballista launcher! Rogue, there is a dragon on the horizon!"

*belly laughing*

That's a good one, AO7.

Grand Lodge

104) There isn't much that they'd want to spend the money on. Most magic items aren't generally available for purchase in this world, and most other things that they could spend the money on (e.g., opening an inn) are generally going to be equivalent to saying "I'm tired of this campaign".

105) There aren't spells out abilities for things like long-distance flight or teleportation that could meaningfully replace a ship. This doesn't necessarily have to mean banning those things outright, i.e., "You think being on a ship in a storm is bad? Try just going straight through one with Overland Flight!".

Dark Archive

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106) The ship's AI believes itself to be sentient and has petitioned the governing body for citizenship status. The case is buried under miles of red tape and won't be heard for years. In the meantime potential buyers are forbidden to purchase the ship and the players can't sell it either. Bonus:the ship loves to have long discussions about the nature of life and freedom with android and shireen PCs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

107) At the start of the campaign, establish that the PCs borrowed a LOT of money to buy the ship, which they have to pay back in easy monthly installments....

107a) As part of the loan transaction, each PC was placed under a geas to make that monthly payment until the ship is paid off.

107b) As part of the loan transaction, each PC had a tiny "collateral enforcement device" implanted in the base of their skull... which will explode if a payment goes 90 days past due.

[Stole that last one from the old Star Frontiers RPG.]


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Android Operative 7 wrote:
103) The ship was originally part of a fantasy themed park ride. It's decorated in bright fantasy motifs and the furnishing is a cheap imitation of the fantasy setting it was part of. Also the ship's AI refers to itself as "Dungeonmaster" and calls PCs by class titles. "Ranger! Your quest is to motivate the the Magician into repairing the port side ballista launcher! Rogue, there is a dragon on the horizon!"

"Hey, look! It's the 'Dungeons & Dragons' ride!"

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

108) The ship is a salvaged pre-Gap relic. It has no papers (make some kinds of sales difficult), and no exact known value (making other sales difficult.)

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