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Patrolling is one of the major activities that a captain can do in orbit. The others being Spying and Blockading. Of these three, patrolling is the activity that is regarded as being helpful or beneficial to the zone and it's faction below. The text of the Patrol screen will tell you as much. Essentially you are helping to keep the system free of pirates, smugglers and other unwanted types. Patrolling may help you to gain reputation with system's faction owner, making it one of the few ways to do that when the Captain lacks contacts within that faction or trading talents which might otherwise help them. Reputation gain can be most pronounced when that faction is in a conflict as the captain may draw the participate in a conflict card, which, if selected, will change the conflict score in the zone owner's favor and give more significant rep to the captain. Missions may also require that a Captain perform patrolling actions. In this case, they will need to patrol until hitting a "Mission Success" card. Many patrolling cards result in a ship contact with a hostile ship and the Spacer who patrols should be prepared to engage in ship-to-ship combat.

The results of patrolling are determined by a card mini-game. The Captain will draw 5 cards which are determine by risk and reward factors. He or she may then have the opportunity to modify their draw through the use of crew talents which allow them to redraw, remove or improve a card. Then one card will randomly be selected from the remaining cards providing either a negative, positive or neutral result. If a negative result is drawn it is possible that it's results may be avoided by a test of certain captain and ship skills. All patrolling actions consume time and fuel.

Risk Factors

  • Zone military rating
  • Planet size
  • Zone trade law level
  • Zone starport level

Reward Factors

  • Zone trade law level
  • Zone population
  • Captain's Charisma
  • Ship command points
  • Ship navigation points
  • Ship tactics points

Positive Results

  • Learn a new rumor
  • Gain 3-6 rep and encounter a pirate or smuggler
  • Gain6-12 rep
  • Encounter a friendly military ship
  • Encounter a non faction merchant ship
  • Recover fuel and repair hull
  • Strike a blow in a conflict: increase rep and influence conflict score

Negative Results

  • Damage to ship
  • Damage to crew
  • Death among crew
  • Encounter a marauding pirate