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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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  #1  
Old March 8th, 2007, 11:12 AM
mbrinkhues mbrinkhues is offline
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Another Spin-Off from the Merc-Starship Thread:

Q: What types (Size, composition, TL) of Merc units exist IYTU

Q: What tickets do mercs take IYTU


=============================

My 0.1 Eurocent:

Types of Merc Units

I see three basic types of Merc Units.

1) Small units (30-60)

These are 30-60 persons including support. They specialise in Bodyguard and Pinpoint-Strike operations being too small for any lengthy operations and too weak to shift the tide as a line unit in most situations(1). They will be equiped with their own ship for ease of transport and to the highest TL they can afford(2). Gravbelts and G-Rafts for transport, hard-hitting weapons for armament

2) Mid-Sized (100-200)

This is the unit that the spaceship was for. Large enough to function independently for some time and to take on more complex jobs. Security duty at key installations, cadre duty or large SpecOps Missions (similar to a Ranger Batallion). Equipment varies with customers targeted but will generally start out at TL9-10 and have minor details like all vehicles hydrogen or nuclear powered. If they use vehicles they will either be rugged heavy ground units (Leopard II and Warrior equivalents) or mid-level grav units. Depending on the final mission profile they might or might not have space assets. If the unit goes for protection and cadre duty, they are likely depending on hired spacecraft.

3) Large (400-1000)

We left blood in the sands of twenty five worlds. And build roads on a dozend more
(Inofficial Line Marines March, Jerry Pournelle)

These are extremly rare units, often the Huscarl forces of a nobel and/or commanded by former (and honorably discharged) Imperial personal. They can take on basically every mission short of a full scale planetary war. Equipment will be mid-TL (12-13) with maybe a "Special Forces" unit equiped at TL14+. At this side the unit can do anti-guerilla work or be used as a high-tech spearhead.

Transport of the unit either requires targets that don't need a space-assault component, allowing the unit to charter commercial transport, or the unit will need multiple spacecraft, some of the assault-capabel (Ramadas, Gazelles, Fiery etc) some of the large cargo carriers

What tickets do they take#

I can see three basic types of tickets:

1) High tech force on a low tech planet

If the planet in question still is early industrial to early spaceflight, a TL9+ force equiped with easy access to space (and satellites), gravtech and improved armor(3) can be a force multiplier far greater than their size

These missions will most likely be fought on resonably habitabel planets since low-tech mass-warfare in NBC suits is extremly difficult

2) SpecOps units

Basically SAS for hire

3) Protection detail

(1) Okay, going up against TL4- troops might work. Might as Pournelles "Janissarians" show quite nicely
(2)IMTU I'd say TL13-14
(3)Compare the best TL6 tanks (Panzer V "Panter", M26 Pershing, IS-2, Centurion) to the current TL8 tanks. Weight is not that much bigger (around 10to more) but a Leopard or LeClerc can eat late WWII battletanks by the company
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Old March 8th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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I prefer 1 soldier in a TL 16 experimental battledress with a platoon's worth of weapons acting alone to kill everything in sight. Sort of that "DIABLO meets HALO" feel to it. [img]smile.gif[/img]
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Old March 8th, 2007, 01:48 PM
mbrinkhues mbrinkhues is offline
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Does it come with a sign "Darrian technician not included" ?
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Old March 8th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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We had this conversation from a different angle. Mostly the price of tickets and different Merc units. Like how do they pay for all this when the tickets don't pay enough to maintain the unit. Initial Capital for a Merc Unit is a pain to come up with because it is a high risk investment. The loss of one Armored vehicle wipes out the entire contract price for most Canon Company- tickets and two-three vehicles for most Canon Battalion+ tickets.

Of the StarMerc Tickets I have seen, the Ticket price doesn't cover the operating cost of the ship. (Especially if you have a mortgage.)

To stay in business a Mercenary unit has to be flexible, and not have lots of overhead. They have to be prepared to take missions on all sorts of worlds/environments, not just a limited subset. And they have to be able to get to the target, reasonably intact in a reasonable amount of time. A unit that is sitting in a Starport looking for work and/or a ride is going to go hungry.

Most units would be in the Platoon-Company range. Which is between 27 (Adventure 7) and 200 effectives (Aslan Mercenary Cruisers). Most units, because of cost, maintenance, and potential battle losses are going to be light infantry, with, potentially some armor and/or Close Air Support. These are infantry units, meaning that if it is a Platoon they might have a Tank. If it is a Company they might have 3-5 tanks. (You can substitute a Multi-role craft, since air power and armor merge at higher tech levels.) They might have 1 (Platoon) to 4 (Company) Artillery systems. (Again this could also be merged into a multi-role system.) If they are lucky and very well financed they might even have both. However Artillery doesn't work in an enclosed environment, and Armor has issues with those environments, so the troops that are assigned to those elements should be configured as a Weapons Squad/Platoon and carry your man portable support weapons. Train both ways. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Anything beyond Company sized is likely to be capable of deploying as separate Companies, instead of strictly as a large unit. (So a Company transport is likely to be the largest sized Mercenary Cruiser routinely used.) Company sized units are likely, depending on configuration to be able to accept several Platoon sized tickets (So instead of using one big Merc Cruiser, they might perfer several smaller ones.) There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Economically it may be better to take multiple small tickets as this way some money is coming in, however on multiple small ships for a bigger operation, training together can not be accomplished enroute.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 06:48 PM
mbrinkhues mbrinkhues is offline
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I totally agree with the ticket prices in Mercenary etc. and I totally ignore them in my games. This is really about units and missions, prices come next.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 11:17 PM
alanb alanb is offline
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I think the most profitable units won't have much in the way of permanent equipment. What they will have is skills.

Equipment can be bought or leased. Yes, even starships, if you have the right contacts.

The most lucrative contracts are likely to be security or cadre missions. In the latter, in particular, you would expect the client to provide the equipment you use. Or at least pay for it, since the mercs might play an advisory, or even brokering, role in obtaining it.

In the case of other missions, you buy the gear you need, and hire any specialists you don't have. And possibly even subcontract out parts of the operation to other merc units.

Alternatively, you can tie up a billion credits in equipment that is likely to have to be written off. To mangle an old joke, this is how to make a small fortune - start with a large one and buy mercenary warships.

So, my idea of a mercenary unit will have a lot of people sitting around in offices pushing pens. Some of them, of course, will be intelligence analysts. The "in the field" part is what happens after the preparatory work is done.

Of course, if you need a unit "right now", you might have to put up with a pre-fabricated unit, and hope there is one available with the right capabilities. Good luck.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Equipment can be bought or leased. Yes, even starships, if you have the right contacts.
and of course all this military hardware, at the right tech level and in the right quantity and condition, with all the right spare parts and support equipment, is just sitting around in a pawn shop somewhere?

even if it is, no-one is going to lease this stuff. "yeah, we're going to take this platoon of armor to the next system over and get it shot at, then we'll return it to you if we win. what's the charge per week?" nah, it'll be cash on the barrelhead and upfront, "see you later and good luck." if it's even there.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 03:13 AM
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Quote:
Another Spin-Off from the Merc-Starship Thread:

Q: What types (Size, composition, TL) of Merc units exist IYTU

Q: What tickets do mercs take IYTU
IMTU:

1.a & 1.b: Types & TL: I design by their defined *mission* category into the following, as the Imperium has diversity of needs , TL's, and 11,000 worlds, it was common sense that mercs could be of nearly any tech level.

1.c-Composition/Mission-by ticket specialization.

++ StarMerc --(Spaceborne operations primarily/ may do planetary assault-striker tickets--biofreight number of personnel depending). Anti-piracy, Shipping security-convoy escorts, and other roles in space.

No real world examples to date; Canon examples exist in MT-era onwards; and T20's 990 period in Gateway campaign.

++ Cadre --Supervisory instructor troops, who lead, train native planetary forces in new Imperial or imported technology, and tactics, and require a basic Instruction-skill level 1+.

real world example: Claire Chennault's 'Flying Tigers' mercenary airforce of 30x TL6 P-40 Fighters for China 1937-1945.

++ Security--Garrison style tickets guarding fixed installation(s). many megacorp outfits fit this description guarding their many assets, to the meanest starport small bar with 1-2 bouncers, to bodyguarding visiting heads of state.

real world examples: Black Water Inc., Wachenhut, Loomis Armored car service, and so on..

++ Striker--Assault units. These are high-tempo/ combat troops, whose missions could be from kill-capture-rescue a single person to bolstering local forces in an all out prolonged war.

Real world example--again, Chennault's Flying Tigers; The mercenary outfits of the Biafra War (1966-1967), the various Congo wars; French Foreign Legion; Rhodesian> Tanzania war and so on.

A Subgroup of Cadre-units
+++ Support mercenary Units --those units that provide services for warlike units with long-term tickets but have the wallet in mind, and provide medical, transportation, and logistical support.

Real world example-the ground crews for Chennault's Flying Tigers.

On Sizes, tickets come from the individual bodyguard-instructor, leadership-organizer-recruitment jobs, all the way to regimental size (1000-1500) men.

Some merc outfits IMTU specialize in only one type of merc work. Some do more than one (like Cadre & Security; Striker & Security, Starmerc & Striker, and so on. Some might be so large (regimental) they can do almost all of them: Support, Cadre, Security, Striker-for example--none can do them all IMTU, as Starships are costly to maintain.

The larger units (Company-size (100+) & greater) have a "homebase" where they hang their hats and conduct training and recruitment, usually at the invitation of the planetary govt.

Some high pop water Poor (Po) worlds in the style of ancient Sparta, export their *excess* military forces in times of war as a means of supplementing their own economies.

IMTU-990, the world of Harper does this, and has a regimental sized outfit with three Battaliosn (500+ each), deploying out in nothing smaller than company sized units.

they specialize in Starport Security-long term tickets, although they also have engaged in striker jobs in several prolonged "brushfire wars" in their region just outside the Imperium, and their TL8/9 forces can even be found on Starfall, at First Landing City.

Quote:
Equipment can be bought or leased. Yes, even starships, if you have the right contacts.

The most lucrative contracts are likely to be security or cadre missions. In the latter, in particular, you would expect the client to provide the equipment you use. Or at least pay for it, since the mercs might play an advisory, or even brokering, role in obtaining it.

In the case of other missions, you buy the gear you need, and hire any specialists you don't have. And possibly even subcontract out parts of the operation to other merc units.
In the Case of "Harper's Hoplites": alanb is correct--transportation to the world is almost always arranged by the client. They own no starships themsleves (their homeworld has only an E-class port).

This is one of the more hotly contested parts of a ticket--"who pays for our services, pays to get us there to the job," is the usual method IMTU, as the majority of merc units do not own starships.

The unit described above uses TL7-9 personal armor & weaponry, with TL5+ locally supplied ammunition generally as they tend to steer towards long-term tickets in fixed locations.

An example of a single-starship owning outfit--
IMTU, I utilize the T20 EA merc units, and have a small Striker rapid deployment unit, company Sized of Paras--"Batza's Fallschirmjaeger", who while they are based on a Pop4 world (pop 60K), have at their disposal there an A-class port, and TL14.

They are company-sized (100-150 personnel), but take jobs of PLT size or larger for Seize-and- Hold Striker missions until relieved. They own an armed modified J-2 400dtn Fat Trader, and utilize TL7+ equipment for everything from parachuting to para-sailing, HALO, to to meteoric re-entry drop capsules (TL9). For overhead, the only high tech they use is TL-14 communications gear, and TL12 combat armor. Everything else is TL7-9. For company-sized missions, they lease a 1kton bulk freighter, and send the Fat Trader carrying their primary assault element (PlT).

Neither of these two vessels ever "lands" in an the area of operation, and generally orbitally support the ticket with smallcraft for extraction.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 04:35 AM
alanb alanb is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by flykiller:
and of course all this military hardware, at the right tech level and in the right quantity and condition, with all the right spare parts and support equipment, is just sitting around in a pawn shop somewhere?
Yes. They're called arms dealers. The big one in the OTU is called "Instellarms".

Or else it's the megacorporation or government the mercs are sock puppets for.

Quote:
even if it is, no-one is going to lease this stuff. "yeah, we're going to take this platoon of armor to the next system over and get it shot at, then we'll return it to you if we win. what's the charge per week?"
I mainly meant ships. Also, everything else left over will almost always revert to the hirer at the end of the contract.

Besides, many tickets won't involve much if any combat. These are the good ones.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 05:24 AM
Liam Devlin Liam Devlin is offline
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Instellarms,LIC. by canon got its start in the mercenary unit arms-supplying business as a large regimental sized outfit once upon a time in the 3I, iirc.

Bryan Gibson had a Mercenary Supplement book called "Dream Tickets" that was marketed to T20 & QLI once upon a time...It would answer a lot of who negotiates and who pays what in a ticket, explains the Imperial Laws of War much better, and I was looking forward to it, being one of the proof-readers.

but other things have happened since...
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