Our first encounter with the Banu occurred in the Davien system. In 2438 an independent nav-jumper named Vernon Tar, opened fire on what he thought was another privateer trying steal his meager claim in the system. The pilot of the other ship turned out to be Banu. Luckily, the incident didn’t lead to any deaths and became humanity’s first introduction to the Banu Protectorate.
Baachus is believed to be the Banu’s home world. We say “believe” because the they haven’t been forthcoming on the subject. The Banu Political System is a Republic of Planet-States, each run under its own policies. The representatives of each planet gather for a quorum to debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each planet is left to their own devices.
The Banu do not maintain a standing army. Local militia keep the peace within their systems and they’re not especially selective. Even criminals can and do serve. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this makes the Banu worlds an easy target. On the contrary, they have the means to muster a formidable fighting force if necessary.
In comes the Merchantman
The Banu are the traders and culture-hounds of the universe. There are a lot of things they’re willing to overlook in pursuit of commerce. They trade with the Vanduul and if you’re looking for shady, check the back alleys of any Banu city.
Their planets are varied and colorful and they take pride in being unique in their culture and traditions. However, their pursuit of wealth through trading is their one true ring. And why the ship designed to support that lifestyle, The Merchantman, is prized above all others.
The BMM is categorized as a trade vessel within the cargo ship classification. As far as available cargo size units, it’s carries more than the Hull C, coming in at 5018. It’s 100 meters in length and supports a maximum of 8 crew stations. Compared to the other cargo ships, the BMM on paper has more defensive and offensive technical capabilities – wolf in sheep’s clothing. However, remember this is still concept ships and such, things are subject to change.
Why is the Banu Merchantman a lifestyle?
One of the things that sets the BMM apart from other cargo ships is that it’s designed for sustainable deep space travel. A traveling business with residential accommodations. Instead of bunks stashed conveniently in a passageway or galley-like area, there the BBM contains dedicated living quarters a short distance from the cockpit. It also boasts an observation room where business negotiations take place and allows customers to view a portion of the cargo hold. The BMM is designed for you to go to your customers and reside at that location for a time while conducting business. When you’re done, you close up shop and move on.
The BMM Can’t be an Island
While the features and lifestyle of owning a Banu Merchantman may instantly sound appealing, having one is only part of the equation. Unlike a pure cargo hauler whose primary role is transport goods, not sell them, the BBM needs merchandise to sell. I doubt you’ll be running NPC cargo hauling missions with your BMM. That’s doesn’t sound like an efficient use of the vessel. Therefore you need a consistent means of filling up your cargo bay.
Pairing the BMM up with a resource acquisition ship like the Orion, Reclaimer or Endeavor could be an option. Like an airplane segregates seating into economy, business and 1st class, you might consider the same strategy with the Merchantman. Commonly needed ore, food supplies, industrial materials, etc., could be your economy merchandise. While the more exotic lower quantity higher margin cargo. For your planning, you’ll need to know which systems produce luxury items that are in demand elsewhere. For a headstart in ideas, you may want to start reading the Galactic Guides and taking a look at where those locations are in relationship to each other on the Starmap.
CIG has said that not all merchandise is available in every system. Therefore savvy merchants will need to stay informed on pockets of consumer demand for merchandise versus where the items can be acquired. In that scenario it doesn’t have to be exotic or luxury to be profitable. I wonder if we’ll be able to purchase wholesale quantities of goods from NPC managed businesses?
Although pirating and unlawful conduct isn’t my cup of tea, I recognize it’s a valid play style and the BMM can play a role in such activities. CIG has suggested that the capabilities of the Banu Merchantman make it viable as an armored smuggling ship or blockage runner. I wasn’t a pirate in EVE Online but I owned a blockade runner for transporting salvage and low level manufactured goods into hostile territories, where listing them on the auction house was considerably more profitable. I also used it to transport my own ships and equipment to whatever system our organization was defending during Faction Warfare – a form of territorial PVP in EVE.
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