Its been mentioned countless times that sky piracy exists in Darmonica, not surprising that the Crimson Skies series of games was a big inspiration for Frozen Skies. Though I've never really gone into much detail about them, how they operate or covered some of the (in)famous scoundrels of the wild blue yonder.
Keep yer eyes sharp as we head off into skies of crimson.
Sky Piracy 101
Sky piracy in Darmonica arose a short while after aircraft had come into widespread use, records from this time tell of a group of disgruntled aviators hijacked a plane carrying the payroll for the company that had recently fired them. This robbery quickly inspired others and a number of self-styled 'brigands of the clouds' rose and fell, it was the popular press that coined the name 'sky pirates' and it stuck with the public at large. Prior to the Great Darmonican War sky pirates were considered more of a nuisance than a problem due to the limited number of gangs active back then, most of them lacked the experience and planes to go toe-to-toe with national air forces.
Things changed during the War primarily due to privateers that were created by the various countries to raid the sky shipping of their enemies, alot of these privateer gangs continued in the post-War years backed up by years of experience and military grade equipment. Other gangs were formed by deserters who branded together for mutual protection and took to sky piracy as a way of surviving. After the War pirate gangs got a boost from aviators and soldiers who'd been demobbed but left with little choices back on civvie street, thus providing a large pool of skilled and experience men (and women in some cases).
With governments now focused on post-War recovery and demobilization of their military forces in an attempt to get their budgets back under control sky pirates have not been kept under control by the now diminished air forces. This has resulted in the pirates growing from a minor nuisance to a major problem and headache for numerous people, particularly as the sky pirates have grown increasingly bold in their actions. Whereas before they were only interested in stealing valuable cargo they have since expanded into capturing aircraft and people for ransom. There are even reports of pirates stealing experimental new aircraft, prompting a number of big companies and corporations to form their own air militias.
Organisation and Operations
The organisation of pirate bands varies by their size and how they operate, the core will always be a group of pilots and potentially gunners depending on the aircraft that they fly. Beyond that depending on the band's size and profitability they may have dedicated mechanics to hand and possibly even boarders for skyjacking. The largest bands that are able to operate airships and maintain bases typically have a much wider range of staff on their payrolls. A number of bands make use of informants to tip them off about possible jobs or to help them stay ahead of the law, some even have their own network of spies and even make use of disgruntled corporate employees.
Raids and skyjacking are typically sky pirates' bread and butter as they still need to buy food, fuel and ammunition to keep going. Smuggling is often seen as easy money even if the pay isn't always that great, but typically they are seen as a way to tie over the band until its next big job. Skyjacking usually requires alot of planning and resources, so very few small time bands go for it other than as one-off jobs. Though not all that common it has been for some sky pirate gangs to attempt jailbreaks to free captured members or hired to help bust out somebody else, at least one band busted out the leader of their main rival after he got shot down.
Use the following stats for a Sky Pirate, though feel free to modify if gunner or even a boarder.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d6, Gambling d4, Intimidation d6, Piloting d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d4, Taunt d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Mean, Wanted (Major or Minor)
Gear: Knives, clubs, pistols or SMGs. Boarders also carry parachutes and grappling hooks.